Parlando: The COC Blog

10/22/2010

Countdown to Operanation: Q&A with Wallis Giunta

Our fairytale-themed party, Operanation, is a little over a week away, and excitement for the event is building. One of the most highly-anticipated aspects of this year's party is a special opera mash-up with Broken Social Scene and two operatic artists from our Ensemble Studio, Ambur Braid and Wallis Giunta. I contacted both of them to get an inside perspective on the preparations for Operanation, and what they told me was very interesting! Here, you can read what Wallis Giunta (pictured at left) had to say.

When you're done, click over to read my Q&A with Ambur Braid.

CC: Tell me a little about yourself and your role in this event.

WG: Hello Parlando readers. I'm a mezzo-soprano, and a second year member of the COC's Ensemble Studio. Since I usually sing only opera and song repertoire, I'm really excited to mix it up with Broken Social Scene on Oct. 29. My dad worked in classic rock radio and programming when I was growing up, so my musical tastes were more along the lines of Led Zeppelin and The Band (and basically still are). It's going to be so great to get to work with BSS, and do a little of what we do, and a little of what they do. I'm trying not to give away too much . . .

CC: Tell me about how you found your dress and jewelry.

WG: This year, since the theme is Cinderella, finding a dress was fun and easy. My singing partner, Ambur Braid, and I went to designers we know that have the fairytale-wedding look in their design palette. My dress is from McCaffrey Haute Couture in my home town of Ottawa, and my mother is helping me to co-ordinate that. Their dresses are perfect, and just unbelievably gorgeous. It will be a privilege to wear one, and my job for the night will be to make sure no one (including myself) spills red wine on it. It's a beautiful partnership between singers and designers: we often need to borrow fancy gowns, and they love to dress us because we are given the spotlight and can garner them a lot of attention (and some of them are opera fans too!). Ambur and I are both having jewelry designed by Toronto's Myles Mindham, who has been a great supporter of both of us for a number of years, and is simply an all-around stellar guy. We can't wait to wear his creations, and we know they will be perfect for the theme of the night.

CC: What’s your routine for getting ready for an event like this, and how long does it take? 

WG: To be honest, when I'm singing at an event in town, I usually throw my dress in a backpack with my makeup, heels, and some bobby-pins, get on my bike and get dressed quickly when I arrive. It's hard to bicycle in a gown (although I have done it). For Operanation, however, I will be behaving like a proper young lady and going to a salon in the late afternoon for hair and makeup. Then I will not bike home but take the streetcar, and warm up and get my gown on with the help of my mom. My parents are in town for the event, so they will drive me to the Four Seasons Centre a bit before everyone arrives. Getting the whole regalia together will take me a few hours because I'm doing it the right way!

CC: What would your ideal fairytale party look like?

WG: As much as I love the Four Seasons Centre, my ideal fairytale party would be at dusk in a lush forest with lanterns and fireflies, and musicians strolling around, and definitely a chocolate fountain. I understand that these run on electricity, and that might not be possible in the middle of the forest, but you said fairytale. I would also have chairs made of glass that would make you feel like you were floating, and swings in the trees, and everyone would have to wear something that they would feel comfortable dancing in. All the food would be fresh and delicious (nothing fried or over-cooked), and wine would magically appear in front of you when your glass was empty. Maybe I have a bit of an overactive imagination, but that lends itself well to a career in opera.

CC: Who best embodies the idea of "Cinderella" for you?

WG: I know this will sound a bit sentimental, but the person that most reminds me of Cinderella is my mother. She does everything for her family and asks nothing in return except to be loved back. She is quick to forgive, and works so hard for all of us. She is beautiful and patient and brings joy to every place she goes. The only difference is she does not have evil step-sisters, my aunts are awesome too.

Photo Credit: Barbara Stoneham © 2010

Posted by Cecily Carver / in Operanation / comments (2) / permalink

Definitely the Opera (10/26/2010 10:46:00 AM)
Brava! Cycling and glamour, not either-or!
Cecily (10/26/2010 11:13:00 AM)
It's amazing how many things go well with a bike.

Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001