This Halloween, our award-winning Opera House offers refuge from streets haunted by tawdry vixens sporting polyester satin with a world of glamour, opulence and mystery. The annual Venetian Ball is a fundraiser for Villa Charities, which provides support for our city’s most vulnerable – our elders and disabled, and is a highlight of the social calendar.

SMarAnt The Venetian Ball 2011tenors The Venetian Ball 2011mask 250x333 The Venetian Ball 2011backlessdress 250x363 The Venetian Ball 2011

The evening celebrates the Toronto’s fierce passion for opera, with selections from Rossini, Puccini and Mozart. Measha Brueggergosman (my new favourite soprano), crowned with an afro, makes Maria Callas look shy as she saunters onstage in a flowing silver gown and bare feet. Martha Wainright’s boy, Rufus, strikes the right note as both a librettist and vocalist, and the Canadian Tenors (yes, there are four of them), have voices (and eyes!) that could melt the garters off Angela Merkel.

Luckily, my mask hides my blushes as I make the acquaintance of these gentlemen! Free-market fundamentalist Kevin O’Dreary (aka the Daffy Dragon) was caught in a charitable moment, and Suzanne and Ed Rogers were warm and charming as usual. (Check out Suzanne’s closet at The Coveteur!)

suzanneted The Venetian Ball 2011

A Venetian ball is, by definition, a masquerade. Cheers to those who dressed in full costume, but if you didn’t wear a mask – you can find them in the trimming shops on Queen between Spadina and Bathurst, or you can order them on-line.

Mask Italia has some beautiful laser cut pieces. Ask the artist to put your mask on a hair band – it’s far more comfortable and stable than ribbons, and be sure to buy your mask before your dress and jewelry. If you want to go the whole nine yards – you can rent costumes and gowns from Malabar or Theatrix, (arias not included).

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