Next up Natalie Dessay
Natalie Dessay, one of the biggest stars of the opera world, sparkles with a vivacity and charm that seems very French, but is probably all her own.
Having wanted to be first a dancer, then an actress as a child, Natalie found her way to singing, and soon began racking up the prizes: First prize in the Voix Nouvelles competition, first again at the International Mozart Competition run by the Vienna State Opera, then the part of Olympia in Roman Polanski's version of The Tales of Hoffmann. Since then she has performed major soprano roles in significant productions across the world, and is a six-time winner at the Victoires de la Musique and is the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award winner, much admired as an interpreter of bel canto and lyric heroines such as Violetta from La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Pamina from Die Zauberflote. Natalie has at times been obliged to break from singing due to vocal difficulties that required surgery, and so, it is all the more exciting that she will be performing at the National Concert Hall on March 26th, focussing on the works of Poulenc, Strauss, Debussy, Fauré, Duparc, Schumann and Brahms, accompanied by French pianist Philippe Cassard.
Say it with flowers in Russian
Debbie Deegan is tireless, inventive and innovative in seeking new ways to raise money to help orphaned children in Russia through her charity, To Russia With Love. This month, she has teamed up with the wonderfully talented Ruth Monahan of Appassionata Flowers, who has designed a gorgeous, limited edition Russian-inspired floral bouquet, with proceeds raised going to benefit the charity, who work with abandoned and orphaned children in one of Russia's most desolate regions. The bouquet perfectly showcases Ruth's philosophy of stylish simplicity and exquisite attention to detail, and references the arrival of spring with pink tulips, astrantia, waxflower and eucalyptus, all bound with a paper flower handmade by the children of the To Russia with Love orphanage. Each beautiful bouquet costs €70 (including delivery), of which €15 goes to the charity, and will help traumatised, abandoned children towards a brighter, more certain future. There is no more touching or beautiful way to show love this month.
Sian Jacobs takes the biscuit with online shop
Designer Sian Jacobs specialises in clever, playful, tremendously flattering designs using exquisite cashmere made by a Nepalese husband-and-wife team she first met on a visit to the country back in 2008. Each piece is hand-finished and mainly hand-loomed, and uses AZO-free dyes. Most of the Nepalese workforce is made up of women whose skills give them the independence to earn a living, yet allow them to get home in time to cook the evening meal. All of which is wonderfully worthy, but best of all, doesn't interfere with Sian's ability to turn out gorgeously comfortable yet seductive dresses, jumpers, and scarves. Sian's designs are already a go-to for the country's most style-conscious women, and she is now taking things a step further by launching an online shop. Sunday Independent readers can get 20% off everything, valid for one week from today, by quoting FEB20.
Gray to Bleu for new Chanel campaign
Five years after Martin Scorsese directed charismatic French actor and model Gaspard Ulliel (Saint Laurent and Hannibal Rising) as the face of Blue de Chanel, the men's fragrance created by the iconic fashion house, James Gray, director of We Own The Night, Two Lovers and The Immigrant, is teaming up with Ulliel to create the follow-up. The fragrance is described as "woody aromatic . . . for the man who defies convention, and resists the ordinary every day, finding satisfaction in the unexpected," and once again, the visual of the campaign shifts between fantasy and reality, as the movie star played by Ulliel, now older, more elegant, tries to flee his obsessed fans and the pressures of fame, attempting to find some kind of peace and serenity. The suitably robust soundtrack is Jimi Hendrix's version of Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower.