Category Archives: Benefit

COC raises $100K for rising opera artists

The bar for charity balls was raised on October 21, 2011, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto as the scene of Operanation 8: A Muse Ball unfolded with more than 1,000 guests in attendance. The event raised $100,000 for the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier program for emerging opera professionals.

Rufus Wainwright entertained the crowd with “The Art Teacher,” “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk,” and “Going to a Town.” Ensemble Studio singers Ambur Braid and Adrian Kramer performed with Canadian dance-pop band Austra. CP24’s Melissa Grelo hosted the evening. The night ended with a dance party whipped up by DJ John Kong.

In addition to the musical entertainment, fashion designers Ashley Rowe, Calla, Joeffer Caoc, and Arthur Mendonça provided creations for a fashion installation curated by RAC Boutique.

Fashion installation featured at OperaNation c. Canadian Opera Company

An art installation by Nadia Belerique and Jennifer Rose Sciarrino”Between Two Pillars,” occupied the top of the grand staircase.

The event also featured a scotch tasting hosted by The Balvenie; fine chocolate, cheeses, an amuse bouche station  and a popcorn bar.

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Benefit, North American Opera, opera news, Uncategorized, young artists programs

opera and humanity . . . perfect together

Benefit concert for St. Luke's Children's Hospital/photo by Michael Chadwick

It’s beautiful and noble. Classy, classical, and charitable. It’s Opera for Humanity (OFH), and it has been aiding children and charities through benefit recitals since 2006. That’s when founder Amy Shoremount-Obra, a classical singer who trained at the Julliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, began combining her musical gifts with a desire to serve for children in need. 

Coloratura soprano and OFH founder Amy Shoremount-Obra/photo by Allan Reider

The New York-based Opera for Humanity is a vehicle for both social change and artistic development. OFH realizes their mission by helping children worldwide overcome poverty and disease through benefit performances of world-class opera by exceptionally promising young stars. Opera for Humanity is also committed to reaching many through outreach performances in communities where opera and classical music are not widely accessible. 

According to their website, in addition to its philanthropic activities, OFH is dedicated to providing opportunities for gifted young artists, helping to promote up and coming talent. Participating artists have the opportunity to help children in need and to give back to the community while collaborating with equally talented colleagues in prestigious venues. 

“We have already been fortunate enough to help many organizations,” Ms. Shoremount-Obra explained. Ronald McDonald House of New York City, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Bryan’s Dream Foundation are just some of programs they’ve supported. 

OFH's Lucia di Lammermoor/photo by Allan Reider Studio

OFH received official non-profit status in 2008. Proceeds from their inaugural performance of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love  established a fund for the company itself. Its recent performance of Lucia di Lammermoor raised $5,000 for the New York City Food Bank as well as children in Cambodia and Malawi through World Vision

Opera for Humanity has slated an entire series of recitals and a Holiday Benefit, beginning with Mim Paquin (Soprano) and Donna Gill (Piano) on November 5th, at 7:30pm at 345 E. 56th St, Kala Maxym (Soprano) and Maria Garcia (Piano) on November 19th at 7:30pm in the “Madame Butterfly” Room at 853 7th Ave. (For a special post about Kala Maxym’s upcoming recital, click here.)   

“Our Holiday Benefit will be at Bechstein Hall on December 17th,” Ms. Shoremount-Obra said.  “We are excited to announce that New York City Opera Director Beth Greenberg will direct!” 

OFH has two more recitals coming up in January, including one featuring Ms. Shoremount-Obra on January 21, to benefit the Scott Family.   

OFH participating in Make Music New York 2010

Amy is quick to credit the OFH team, which also includes Suzanne Halasz (the daughter of Maestro Laszlo Halasz, who founded New York City Opera, and also New York City Center), Director of Development; Linda Platzer, Director of Public Relations, and Julia Mintzer, Director of Production; for their tireless work in helping children in need while providing fantastic performing opportunities for young, talented artists. 

For more information on any OFH event or to be added to their mailing list, email

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Filed under 21st Century Opera, Benefit, Classic Opera, Concert Opera, Heartstoppers, Recitals

how about COC’s indie pop & opera mashup!

Indie darlings Broken Social Scene and members of the Canadian Opera Company (COC’s) Ensemble Studio are combining forces for a truly special special event, Operanation VII, Cinderella: Rock the Ball. Operanation takes place at the beautiful Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October  29.  So, pack your sedans and head to Toronto, one of the most vital opera meccas in North America.

The theme of this event is inspired by the opera La Cenerentola, the Cinderella story as written by Rossini. It includes a special (sold-out) VIP dinner before the party. Tickets are $150.

The evening’s performances will include triple-threat Clara Venice, Canadian artist who is an electric violinist, theraminist, and vocalist, who will give a special performance when the clock strikes midnight. Her style has been described as “electro-pop-meets-cabaret-show,” and she’s planning a special genre-bending performance. She’s keeping some of the details of her midnight performance under wraps: “I’ve created something extra-special and never-yet-performed, so expect a few surprises.”

We also have it on good authority that the audience is in for another surprise–that there will be two drag queens playing the roles of the “ugly stepsisters.”

Parlando, the COC Blog, has Q&As with Ambur Braid and Wallis Giunta, who will sing with Broken Social Scene, as well as a behind-the-scenes perspective from Barney Bayliss on preparing the Four Seasons Centre for the party and a primer on the work of Clara Venice.

Fashion designers and jewelers dressing the artists include Evan Biddell, Farley Chatto, McCaffrey Haute Couture, and Myles Mindham. The cocktails and appetizers will be provided by Rose Reisman Catering.

Does this sound like a can’t miss event or what? Canadian Opera Company, stop back with pix from this fabulous fall event that we know without a doubt is going to Rock the Party.


Filed under 21st Century Opera, Benefit, North American Opera, Opera Marketing

a celebration of life and music . . . con pasión, con Kala

Does an intimate evening of music by Bizet, Mompou,Turina, and Wolf, as well as a selection of zarzuelas by various Spanish composers appeal to you as much as it does me? Then mark your calendars for “Pasión de España,” a benefit recital performed by The Opera Insider’s own, Kala Maxym.

The event has been organized in cooperation with Opera for Humanity, and is slated for Friday, November 19, at 7:30 p.m., in the “Madame Butterfly Room,” at 853 Seventh Avenue in New York City.

Partnering with Kala for this solo performance is Cuban pianist Maria Paulina Garcia, who holds a master’s degree from the internationally acclaimed Manhattan School of Music, among other credentials.

Though Kala has extensive experience in opera performance (see this professional profile published on “Operatoonity” earlier this year), she also loves recital work. “It gives you such freedom to create your own program and really develop a relationship with the pianist or instrumentalists,” she explained in a recent interview, “which you don’t always get in opera.”

The recital is significant for another reason as well. It marks the seventh anniversary of her bone marrow donation, which saved the life of Peggy Waara. “I’m singing in honor of my recipient,” who is faring well, Kala said, “and will also be talking about how you can get involved and get yourself on the registry, etc.”

Tickets are $25 in advance; and $30 at the door. This is a first-rate “operatoonity” to support Kala and her pasión for music and for helping children worldwide through Opera for Humanity.

See the YouTube video below about Kala’s experience as a bone marrow donor:

YouTube Preview Image

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Filed under Benefit, Classical Music, Performers, Recitals