Monday 23 April 2018

The pleasure list: Why, why, why Dalila?

Betrayal: Katherine Watson, who was a choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, stars as the treacherous Delila.
Betrayal: Katherine Watson, who was a choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, stars as the treacherous Delila.
Gourmet grub

The National Concert Hall's International Choral Series for 2016 is a wonderful selection - including performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Bach - and opens on January 23 with a production of Handel's glorious oratorio Samson, performed by Chamber Choir Ireland and the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

Conductor Matthew Halls will be joined by renowned soloists Jonathan Best, James Oldfield, Madeleine Shaw, with James Gilchrist as Samson and soprano Katherine Watson, who was a choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, then won a place on William Christie's Le Jardin des Voix, as the treacherous Dalila.

Samson, one of Handel's finest, most dramatic works, was composed immediately after the Messiah in an intense one-month period in October 1741, directly before he arrived in Dublin. The piece begins with the aftermath of Samson's betrayal by Dalila, as he lies in chains while around him the Philistines celebrate their pagan god. Gradually though, Samson's strength returns as his hair grows, and he begins to plot a final, sacrificial revenge.

Antiques of the future

Brothers Tim and Sean Dunleavy both graduated from the Furniture College in Letterfrack, and went on to work, separately, with many renowned furniture makers in Ireland and the UK. Gathering their individual experiences together, they then set up Dunleavy Bespoke, a design studio and workshop in Kildare, where they specialise in the design and manufacture of unique, handcrafted pieces, made to commission.

Their elegant, contemporary work is much sought-after by interior designers and architects, and as well as private homes, can be seen in churches, schools, reception areas and most recently in the National Museum of Northern Ireland, in Belfast. The unique pieces deliberately harmonise traditional cabinet-making techniques with more modern processes, and show a meticulous attention to detail. The wood used is premium quality native and imported hardwoods, along with exotic and decorative wood veneers, and the commissioning process is one they undertake in close communication with clients, to ensure the kind of result that will be loved, cared for, and passed down to future generations.

Design dreams realised with Silverware award

The rewarding creative partnership between Newbridge Silverware and NCAD is now in its 10th year, with the annual Jewellery Designer of the Year recently announced as Dubliner Michelle Coakley. The competition provides an invaluable opportunity for budding jewellery designers to have their creations turned into bespoke collections by Newbridge Silverware - which means that one of Michelle's winning designs will go on sale as part of the Ariel Collection this January.

This year, 24 students entered and gained the chance to see their drawings brought to life and showcased as part of a fashion show at Newbridge Silverware. Michelle was selected as the overall winner due to what judges described as the exceptionally high standard of her designs. She also gets a student bursary as part of her prize, and a host of other goodies from Newbridge Silverware.

Delicious gourmet food with nutritionist seal of approval

Gourmet grub

Dun Laoghaire is the fifth and latest spot to find itself home to a Gourmet Food Parlour, the chain of stand-alone restaurants set up by Lorraine Heskin and Lorraine Byrne, based on the worthy principle of sustainable ingredients with an emphasis on Irish produce.  

The latest restaurant, located near Dun Laoghaire harbour, can seat up to 80 people and has a menu composed of well-balanced, healthy breakfasts, brunches, lunches and dinners, many of which come with an added seal of approval - that of National Sports Nutritionist Daniel Davey. Interiors are designed with a New York loft feel in mind - airy, high ceilings and exposed brickwork with a well-stocked bar and outdoor tables for those few fine days. Try a breakfast burrito - scrambled eggs, Irish bacon, tomato salsa and guacamole in a toasted wrap; or the chicken and chorizo sandwich - grilled fillet of chicken, baked chorizo, sun-dried tomato, rocket, parmesan shavings, mango dressing.

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