The Canadian Opera Company’s (COC) Operanation is one of my favourite events of the year – especially its VIP dinner. Catered by 10tation Event Catering and held at the COC’s the Four Seasons Centre fo the Performing Arts, the meal was definitely, in some ways, “different.” The first thing I noticed when I walked into the dining area were how beautiful the tables were decorated. We were later told that the centrepieces were courtesy of the COC’s prop department, all items which have appeared in the company’s various operas. Then, there were the menu cards – printed backwards, so that one required a mirror (the place mat) to read it. Then, the servers came to pour our wine and water – on the left side, rather than the standard right. This confused EVERYONE. I actually had to ask if our bread plates were then on the right – basically in reverse, just like our menus. But bread, unlike our drinks, remained in its standard place. Interesting.
The centrepieces are from the COC’s prop department
The meal consisted of three courses, starting with a parsley risotto with garlic escargot and garlic chips, then whole branzino and accompaniments (including quinoa and artichoke) and a dessert of lemon mousse with rhubarb coulis, strawberries, brandy snap and cake crumbs. The cake was topped with a gorgeous cotton candy, making the entire dessert look like a statuette one might get at an awards ceremony. While the food was definitely delicious, I tried to limit myself from eating too much – after all, there was going to be more food at the party itself – Operanation’s food is always delicious! 10tation Event Catering also tempted our palates with a delicious edamame and goat cheese spread for our dinner rolls, which, at our table, anyway, were dyed a gorgeous robin’s egg blue. Okay, it’s food colouring, but hey, once in a while, right?
Menu (and the dinner’s itinerary) – seen on the left as is and from our mirror place mats on the right
Following our main courses, we were entertained by two of the COC’s Ensemble Studio singers. First, Lauren Eberwein sang Quando m’en vo (La Bohème), which was followed by Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (The Land of Smiles, by Franz Lehar), sung by Charles Sy. A third song, also from La Bohème, was the famous duet, O soave fanciulla, also from La Bohème, performed by both singers. We were also surprised with another duet, this time sung by the event’s host, COC soprano, Simone Osborne.
Dessert. Doesn’t it look like some sort of award?
After the meal, the dinner’s attendees headed down to the main area of the Four Seasons Centre to join in with the “regular” attendees for a night of fabulous music (including a performance by Kiesza and Ensemble Studio singers, Charles Sy and Lauren Eberwein). I didn’t really stay for the party as I had an early day on Friday. This is the second year in a row that I only stayed for dinner. Some day, I’ll attend both. This year just wasn’t one of them.