Wednesday 25 April 2018

The pleasure list: Rachel's on song for voodoo and opera

Soprano Rachel Croash is pictured at the Wexford Festival Opera Friends Style Evening at Harvey Nichols Dundrum Town Centre.
Soprano Rachel Croash is pictured at the Wexford Festival Opera Friends Style Evening at Harvey Nichols Dundrum Town Centre.
Flower globe - Make Life Beautiful.
City Fusion
Keane's Ladies Day.

When novelist Compton Mackenzie suggested 64 years ago to writer and doctor Tom Walsh that he stage an opera in Wexford, not even the most incurable optimist could have predicted how far the idea would come.

This year, Wexford Festival Opera, now one of the world's leading opera festivals, is more polished and brilliant than ever. The big events are Koanga by Frederick Delius, a story of love, betrayal and voodoo gods set among the slave plantations of Florida in the late 1800s, and starring up-and-coming Irish stars Rachel Croash and Kate Allen. Then there is Pietro Mascagni's gothic melodrama Guglielmo Ratcliff, set in Northern Scotland, and with Italian mezzo-soprano Annunziata Margherita Vestri as Maria MacGregor, who rejects Ratcliff, and is then tormented by his refusal to allow her to marry another.

Other productions include Humperdinck's famous musical re-telling of the classic dark folk tale Hansel and Gretel, Puccini's Tosca, a host of recitals and lectures, and of course the annual Gala Concert. Opera lovers, music lovers, Wexford lovers and fun lovers, unite.

Making life beautiful, one fashion step at a time ...

Camilla Morton's first book, How To Walk In High Heels, was born from a simple premise: Make a list of all the things you know how to do, and all the things you want to know how to do. The Want To Knows quickly became so overwhelming - everything from tossing a salad to crossing cobblestones in sling-backs - that Morton decided to get the best advice, going straight to experts including Bella Freud, Manolo Blahnik, Vivienne Westwood, Anya Hindmarch and Jade Jagger.

This time, with Make Life Beautiful, she has again canvassed her celeb friends - Matthew Williamson, Diane von Furstenburg, Roland Mouret - for the secret to the best ways to enhance your existence; exquisite cupcakes, the tying of silk scarves, customised t-shirts, homemade jewellery, how to make a Faberge egg and far, far more. An elegant, entertaining, useful and enticing book, with an appealing magpie approach.

Time for another taste of the city with new four-day festival

The people who have been bringing Taste of Dublin to delighted audiences for many years, have now added another string to their bow, with Taste City Fusion. Sponsored by CityJet and running from October 22-25, this is a brand new four-day food festival, dedicated to  celebrating Dublin's world-class food scene, with a series of interesting, eclectic dining experiences, masterclasses, workshops, and city centre culinary experiences. So, try an evening of Savoury and Sweet at the Cellar restaurant of the Merrion Hotel, breakfast@Guilbaud's (yes please!), or a six-course tasting lunch at Thornton's.

Learn from top chefs including Ross Lewis, Stephen Gibson, Sunil Ghai and Niall Sabongi. There is also a dedicated place for food trucks - one of the big, and growing, new elements within the Dublin food scene - including The Pig's Tail, Once Upon A Thai and Kerala Café, happily located in the one spot in the grounds of Christ Church.

Easy to keep 'em Keane

Not that getting dressed up and heading off to the races isn't a great pleasure in itself, but if there's a chance to win big, we guess that makes it even better. And so, stylish ladies take note: Today at Limerick Races is the much-anticipated Keanes Jewellers Ladies Day. Quite apart from being a day full of fun, style and glamour, title sponsors Keanes Jewellers will be awarding a diamond ring (valued at €4,000) to the most stylish and elegant of them all, as chosen by judges including Marietta Doran.

Second prize is a style session sponsored by Aisling Maher Millinery and Boutique in Adare, while third is a not-to-be-sniffed-at Destination Adare shopping voucher. Alongside the main business of the day - horse racing - there will also be pop-up shops, a fashion show MC-d by Celia Holman Lee, and a lot of family fun, including bumper soccer, onsite playground, cinema club, bouncy castle, face-painting, clowns and a mini disco. Horses for courses, basically.

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