Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Hopera, Monarch Tavern, Toronto, ON

It's Toronto Beer Week this week and Gord and I attended one of the events ... the fourth annual Hopera at the Monarch Tavern.

HOPERA: an evening of local craft beer and song 

 Join us for this celebration of craft beer and opera. On September 21st and 22nd, opera singers will entertain guests with a selection of eight operatic arias, duos and trios. Each song will be accompanied by a sample of local craft beer. Pairings will be presented with details on the musical selection and the beer style as well as why they were chosen. Hopera is an intimate event and will provide meaningful insight into both the world of local craft beer and the world of opera.


I haven't had any exposure to opera but Gord and I like beer and we thought it sounded fun.

The evening was hosted by Melanie Esseltine and Mirella Amato.  Melanie has been a national Canadian Music Competition finalist, Le Prix Nadia Boulanger recipient and a member of Atelier lyrique de l'opéra de Montréal.   Mirella is Canada's only Master Cicerone.  I read her book, Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer ... Even More, in 2014 when it was released.  She also holds a degree in vocal performance from McGill University.

We were provided with a drink ticket for a half pint of beer when we arrived.  Appetizers were provided by Bunz.


There were eight performances and they were paired with a glass (about three ounces) of local craft beer.  There was a program for the show so we could follow along.


Melanie introduced the arias, duos and trios, giving the background of the song and opera and let us know what to expect ... lively, sad, silly, etc.  Mirella would then describe the beer that she had paired with the piece and why.  She showed us how to hold the glass and instructed us to smell the aroma and then sip and then asked us what we detected ... floral?  ammonia?  gardenias?


Then there were be a performance.


Here were the eight performances along with the beer pairings:

  • Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre - Carmen, G. Bizet - performed by Geoffrey Sirett; beer pairing was Walkerville East Stout
  • Soave sia il vento - Don Giovanni - W.A. Mozart - performed by Geoffrey Sirett, Melanie Esseltine and Lyndsay Promaine; beer pairing was Amsterdam Oranje Weisse
  • What power art thou - King Arthur, H. Purcell - performed by Jean-Francois Daignault; beer pairing was Black Oak Sink or Swim Citra Hopped Farmhouse Saison
  • Steal me, sweet thief - The Old Main and the Thief, G. Menotti - performed by Melanie Esseltine; beer pairing was Nickel Brook Raspberry Uber Berliner Style Weiss
  • Veguedille - Carmen, G. Bizet - performed by Lyndsey Promaine; beer pairing was Side Launch Mountain Lager
  • La ci darem la mano - Don Giovanni - W.A. Mozart - performed by Geoffrey Sirett and Lyndsay Promaine; beer pairing was Great Lakes Pompous Ass English Pale Ale
  • Pur ti miro - L'incoronazione di Poppea - C. Monteverdi - performed by Melanie Esseltine and Jean-Francois Daignault; beer pairing was Double Trouble Revenge of the Ginger
  • Brindisi (Libiamo de'lieti calici) - La Traviata - G. Verdi - performed by all; beer pairing was Junction Banhof ZOO Berlinerweisee (Mirella describe it as if beer and champagne had a baby)

Gord had taken a beer-related course led by Mirella a couple years ago.  We chatted with her afterwards and she signed Gord's book.


It was a fun evening!  I didn't know what to expect and I must say it exceeded my expectations.  The performances were excellent and the beer was tasty.  I look forward to attending again next year.