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For the Love of Opera

Opera Kelowna Launches with Fashion Fundraiser

Opera Kelowna Society has teamed up with photographer Darren Hull to help launch their brand new opera company with a Fashion Fundraiser. As a fully professional, nonprofit regional opera company and training centre, Opera Kelowna’s focus is on the training and development of young classical singers as well as educating the community and providing outstanding performances.

“Fashion and Opera go hand in hand; from the beautiful performance gowns to the exquisite period costumes, design and the visual arts are an imperative extension of the operatic experience as it is a vital part of the story,” says artistic director Alexandra Babbel. “We are so fortunate to be working with Darren because he just gets it!”
Photographer Darren Hull took his team to the Kelowna Community Theatre with the assistance of Randy Zahara and Roland Simmons to shoot the pre-event images. The team included, Model: Kathryn Babbel, Make-up & Stylist: Jenny McKinney, Hair: Kristal Rostecki, Photo Assistants: Tony Colgur and Lucas Tingley and Videographer: Tim Feeny of Limelight Studios. The beautiful gowns and jewelry for this photo shoot were provided by Bliss Bridal and Posh.
A behind-the-scene video prepared by Limelight Studios can be viewed below:
Hulls’ vision of the shoot was to capture great images that would connect the old and the new but also create a bridge that would attract the attention of new audiences. “…the focus was on taking opera of old and paying respect to that but doing something brand new and a little bit fun and young,” says Hull.

The fashion fundraiser, PER L’AMORE PER L’OPERA – ‘for the love of opera’, is in benefit of Opera Kelowna’s inaugural intensive Summer Opera Training Program which brings young singers from across Canada to the Okanagan. The faculty for this year’s Summer Program include our very own Maestro Rosemary Thomson, Arnold Draper, Tracy Ross, and Alexandra Babbel. Michael Onwood who is a vocal coach for Vancouver Opera and at UBC will join internationally renowned Alexander Technique instructor, Emma Jarrett as well as guest instructor Mark Wells as part of the faculty this summer.

The feature designers for this year’s show are Justin Paul Fashions, an upscale designer clothing store located at 1296 Ellis in the heart of the cultural district and Birgit Badke of Birgit Badke Designs, an emerging couture designer from Kelowna who will be featuring her 2014 collection during Vancouver Fashion Week next year. Bliss Bridal is the fashion sponsor of all the beautiful performance gowns of the classical singers in this years program. The lighting and music for all the models will be provided by New Horizon Productions.

For the event the make-up will be provided by FACES and hair by CREAM. These sponsors will also be providing an item for the silent auction and a surprise in each gift bag for all our guests along with The Hudson Bay Company and Annegret’s Chocolates. The hors d‘oeuvres will be prepared by La Cucina, who has designed a custom menu especially for the evening!

Babbel adds, “When you are at anything, it is not always easy to find supporters or people who believe in what you are trying to achieve, so I would really like to thank our sponsors for this year’s event because they have been so incredibly generous and encouraging. They really care about the development and education of the young gifted singers in our community and having a professional company that they can come back to as they launch their careers. We just could not have done it without our Main Event and Partner Sponsors so thank you Darren Hull Studios, Impact Kelowna, Springfield Family Services, Alfonso Law Corporation, The Well Dressed Window, Baths By Design, La Cucina, Faces Cosmetics and Spa, Lois Lane, Cream and to our featured designers Justin Paul Fashions, Bliss Bridal and Birgit Badke Designs.” Other supporters of the event include Limelight Studios, Dogwood Nursery, Home Hardware, SW Audio + Visual, Gray Monk Estate Winery, New Horizon Productions and Annegret’s Chocolates. “Thank you all!”

During the evening you will be able to mingle while taking in the fashion show and the sounds of beautiful arias. Enjoy complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as you peruse the silent auction in an intimate setting filled with local wines and elegant designs! The event takes place Sunday, May 19th at 7:30PM at the RCA Atrium & Courtyard. Tickets are $100.00 and can be purchased at the Rotary Centre of the Arts Box Office or by phone at 250.717.5304, online at or for more information go to Please come and support a great cause!

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