We are looking forward to the 9th annual Operanation on Oct 18th! Even before we heard that Nelly Furtado and the Arkells would be headlining this highly-anticipated fundraising gala for the Canadian Opera Company, we were already excited.  And now with these great musicians, we have icing on the cake!  If it’s anything like the Diamond Gala for the National Ballet that we attended a few months ago (and among various free noon-hour concerts), we are very excited to return to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, taking over 3 floors of the spacious, contemporary venue which exudes elegance and sophistication; purposefully built for grand opera and ballet performances.

The event will also feature fine culinary and beverage offerings consistent with this year’s theme of “Sweet Revenge”.  Nadège Patisserie have been crafting a limited edition “Sweet Revenge” macaron and beverages will be created by Toronto’s ambassador of molecular mixology at Barchef, Frankie Solarik, partnering with Société Perrier.  Catering special provisions including espresso will be provided by Rose Reisman Catering.

We look forward to seeing the collaborations between classic and modern music in this event that is “equal parts party and performance”.

Get your tickets for Operanation at www.operanation.ca.  Early bird and VIP tickets are already sold out, so act quickly.  We hope to see you there!

To get warmed up, we had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Jill Dickieson.


Jill Dickieson, fashion designer for Die Flaudermaus

The Canadian Opera Company commissioned some of Ryerson’s top emerging fashion students to develop design sketches from the costumes from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (the operetta which inspired this year’s theme Sweet Revenge). Watch out for Jill Dickieson, an up-and coming fashion designer in her fourth year of Fashion Design at Ryerson University.  She is one of 3 Ryerson students and alumni (the other 2 are David Chou and Sarah Elizabeth Graham) to have their hand-tailored garments unveiled in the fashion installation at the Operanation gala.

Who are some of your fashion designer influences?
My foremost influences came from my mother and grandmother who exposed me to sewing and from there my love for fashion design took off. My cousin was also a jewelry designer and I designed some pieces for her while in Guelph, Ontario. Successful luxury designers like Marchesa and Givenchy play a role in influencing my own designs.

What inspiration did you take from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus?
I was very inspired by the main characters, particularly Adele, who plays Rosalinde’s maid and reflecting her life into my design. I am really attracted to texture and mixing fabrics. The production takes place in a ball so I wanted to incorporate that theme and add volume to the design.

Jill Dickieson’s design sketch inspired by Adele Johann Die Flaudermaus based for Operanation 9: Sweet Revenge

Tell us about the dress you designed for the COC.
I wanted to incorporate the idea of a ball gown so I added volume. You can see elements of texture from the intricate hand beading and lace flowing through the dress. There is also sheer netting, which adds a modern touch to the operetta that is set in the late 19th century.

What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?
Visualizing the idea in my head, no matter how crazy or minimal and watching it come to life. I love being able to produce something from inception to completion; it is truly satisfying to see the end product come true.

Do you have any career advice for a young person wanting to start in
fashion design?
I started interning at my cousin’s jewelry company to obtain experience. Getting as much as experience as you can is very important and especially from internships where you can learn so much on the job. You also get to learn both the business and design side of things that you can’t necessarily learn in school.



Established in 2005, Operanation is the Canadian Opera Company’s premier fundraising event. For arts patrons as well as the opera-curious, Operanation presents a unique experience, equal parts party and performance, with special collaborations between classic and modern music and complementary art forms ranging from visual arts to fashion. Attracting over 1,000 guests, Operanation takes over three floors of the COC’s opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Funds raised for Operanation are directed towards the COC’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. For more information on Operanation, please visit www.operanation.ca

Nelly Furtado and The Arkells will be performing at Operanation 9: Sweet Revenge




Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006, and is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, please visit its award-winning website, coc.ca.

Masquerading at The Venetian Ball
Oceana Ball