The serpent in the garden of Eden hissing into Eve’s ear, seducing her with a sweet apple: the earliest image of temptation. This was the inspiration behind the Canadian Opera Company’s (COC) photo shoot for Operanation 10, A Night of Temptation, a glamorous fundraiser taking place on October 24 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Since its humble beginnings as a cocktail party for 350 guests, to today’s status as a major fundraiser for the COC with upwards of 1,000 attendees, Operanation raises money to support the COC’s Ensemble Studio, a training program for young opera professionals. This year’s event is still in the planning stages, but will feature dancing, installations involving food, fashion and the visual arts, plus live performances by the COC’s Ensemble Studio and contemporary musicians. Past musical guests have included Nelly Furtado, Rufus Wainwright, Arkells, Austra and Broken Social Scene.
Tracy Briggs, Senior Manager of Special Events at the COC spoke with FLARE about the photo shoot, as did Operanation model and Ensemble Studio graduate soprano Ambur Braid:
Tell us about the inspiration behind the shoot.
Tracy: For this year’s Operanation, we are exploring the theme of temptation and everything it encompasses. A live snake came to mind immediately, because of their elegance and traditional presence in the subject of temptation. We wanted to have the snake be a part of the model’s look. The snake was worn as jewellery, cascading down Ambur’s back, as if it were a living, breathing back necklace. Given that 2013 is also the year of the snake, the choice seems even more fitting. The colour green also seemed to pair well with the feel of temptation and the overall sense of sophistication we wanted to project with this creative. Upon developing the theme, we came to discover Pantone actually selected emerald to be its colour of the year.
What was the look that you were going for with Ambur’s hair, jewellery and clothes?
Tracy: We were channeling a modern Baroque temptress for Ambur’s look. Her hair was meant to have a lot of volume, and we added some softness to play nicely with the modern gown and accessories. The J Mendel gown was selected from The Room. We loved the subtle snake skin look that the dress radiated when it hit the light at the shoot. This will be well represented in the full length version of the creative which will be revealed this fall. This gown also has a sense of occasion and we love to encourage our patrons to feel like they can whip out their long dresses for a fabulous night at the Canadian Opera Company. Ambur chose her jewels from Mindham Fine Jewellery, which was a perfect fit with the style of the shoot.
How did Ambur handle the snake?
Ambur: Within minutes of meeting the first snake, I loved them. They were so delicate and sultry. The squeamish shots were from when one of them decided to nest in my updo!
A limited number of early bird tickets are available now at operanation.ca for $125.