Gesamtkunstwerk — the German term for artwork — was used by composer Richard Wagner to describe the intoxicating combination of drama, music, movement and design that fed his operas. Luckily for the thousands of pretty young things who will pack the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the Canadian Opera Company’s Operanation: Light up the Night will channel this spirit of artistic mashups and put it on fabulous display.
Operanation is the COC’s premier fundraising event. It has grown from humble beginnings in 2005 to become an annual sold-out extravaganza that routinely raises $100,000 in support of the Ensemble Studio professional training program. Since its inception, the party has drawn influence from each season’s operas to create a unique, multidisciplinary party experience.
This year sees Randi Bergman, executive digital editor of Fashion magazine and co-chair of this season’s fundraiser, creating a pan-artistic experience for partygoers. “Fashion is the clearest connector between culture and everyday life,” she says. “This year’s Operanation brings all of that together pretty fabulously by utilizing both the [COC’s] costumes and some of Toronto’s top design talents in ways that are both performance-like and wearable for the guests.”
It’s neon ’90s rave revival meets Latin heat, all inspired by Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (Il barbiere di Siviglia), a crowd pleaser in the operatic repertoire. Bergman describes her curatorial vision for the evening — which includes live musical performances, fashions from The Room and installations by Canadian light artist and designer Orest Tataryn — as “Pablo Picasso meets Tracey Emin,” and she promises a “neon, rave-like atmosphere, with Spanish bits mixed in through the food, colours and nods to Cubism.”
And as to the evening’s headlining performance — which in past years has featured members of the Ensemble Studio alongside Broken Social Scene and performances by Rufus Wainwright and Arkells? Bergman remains tantalizingly vague, though entirely encouraging. “I will say one thing: Keith Cole.”