Sparkling singing on a night to remember
IT proved an enchanting evening for soprano Celine Byrne as she strolled on to the stage with one of the world's most famous tenors.
The Naas-born singer shared the bill with Catalan tenor Jose Carreras as the 17th century gardens of Kilruddery House in Bray, Co Wicklow, played host to a rapt audience of more than 5,000 people.
"Performing with Jose Carreras in front of a home crowd was really special.
"The orchestra was wonderful, the weather was glorious and the audience was fantastic," Byrne, one of Europe's emerging classical stars, said.
"There was a fabulous atmosphere and I loved every minute of it, especially the encores. It was a perfect night."
The organisers of the inaugural two-day Kilruddery Festival last night said they were considering extending it to a five-day event next year.
On Saturday, families enjoyed the luxurious grounds as they shared picnic baskets under the trees.
Moments before the concert began, Lord and Lady Meath took their seats.
BAFTA-winning French actress Eva Green, currently filming 'Camelot' in Wicklow and who starred in Bond film 'Casino Royale', turned a few heads as she was escorted to her seat. As dusk fell on the Sugarloaf the first strings of the orchestra began to swell.
Following an instrumental piece in the expert hands of master conductor David Gimenez, Jose Carreras walked on to deafening applause.
The acclaimed opera artist, who has sung in some of the most prestigious locations in the world from Carnegie Hall to The Royal Albert Hall, was in fine voice. He delighted listeners with performances from 'La Boheme', 'Tosca', 'Werther', 'Don Carlo' and others.
Byrne sang a selection of arias from the operas, as well as contemporary songs from stage musicals. It was their 13th concert together Later this week they are expected to travel to Germany.
As night closed in, the house itself was immersed in a blue glow of lights to add to the beautiful backdrop for the concert.
The festival concluded last night with a concert by Michael Ball, who was joined by the Dublin Gospel Choir.