It was an Evening of Beauty: Fashion Show to Live Opera, held at Sala San Marco in Ottawa, Canada, in mid-November. Presented by Pellegrini Opera with Al Masani Royal House Jewelry, the night seamlessly blended fashion, art and opera to raise funds for the Ottawa opera company’s 2018 performance of Madame Butterfly.
Pellegrini Opera, founded by Maria Pellegrini in 2004, is a not-for-profit organization and is the only professional opera company in Ottawa. Al Masani Royal House Jewelry was founded a little over a year ago: their designs include necklaces, tiaras and bracelets, made with cubic zirconia and Austrian crystal. Al Masani is currently a student at Richard Robinson’s School of Design.
A sold-out event, the evening was hosted by Al Masani, who participated in speeches, introductions of notable guests and even walked the runway with some of the models. The patron of the evening was His Excellency Claudio Taffuri, the Ambassador of Italy. Representatives from other embassies, including Yemen, were also present.
When first entering the venue, guests were escorted to a table and a four-course meal, and invited to purchase raffle tickets. After the first two courses, attendees were treated to a runway show featuring designs from Richard Robinson, Cantas, Nouras Couture and La Maison Bridal, as well as suits from Vernini. Long gowns, two and three-piece suits, expertly coiffed hair and Al Masani jewelry made their way down the runway.
Live performances from well-known operas made this event notable and different. Singers Ania Hejnar and Corey Arnold performed songs from Puccini and Verdi as models sashayed down the runway. The event also blended the theatrical elements for which operas are known, such as when Corey Arnold sang to multiple models as he handed out roses to each, the women acting bashful, of course.
Following dessert, attendees were treated to solos by notable operatic singers, including Maria Knapik who most recently filled the role of Floria, in the opera company’s Tosca performance. After her second song, Knapik invited all singers in the audience to join her on the stage or to stand to perform the ending of a famous aria.
One of our favourite performances of the evening was by former The Four Tenors member, Remigio Pereira. His voice was clear and crisp, and the crowd seemed to stop breathing as he sang, the notes floating over the audience. All singers were accompanied by pianist Andrew Ager.
The party was still going late into the night, with more dancing and music. Truly, an art lover’s time.