Tuesday 15 October 2019

The Pleasure List: A new star for Irish opera

Rachel Kelly, mezzo-soprano
Rachel Kelly, mezzo-soprano

Rachel Kelly is an Irish mezzo-soprano with what looks like a big future. Reviewing her appearance as Pisana in Verdi's early work, I Due Foscari, the story of a despairing father torn between his love of family and duty in 15th century Venice, one reviewer described ". . . another glimmer of beauty in Jette Parker Young Artist soprano Rachel Kelly, who has a lovely voice and a stunning stage presence. I predict a huge star in the making."

No less. Meanwhile, industry bible The Stage announced "Rachel Kelly makes a big impression in her small role as Lucretia's confidante, Pisana." Kelly recently appeared alongside the great Placido Domingo who, in an increasingly rare stage appearance, headlined as Jacopo Foscari, in a production at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. After that, she took the stage at Wexford Festival Opera, and next up debuts at the Wigmore Hall in the annual Samling Showcase, on November 12th, a concert featuring Schubert, Strauss, Liszt and more.


Ushering in a golden age for Aer Lingus

A new golden age of luxurious air travel may just have dawned, with Aer Lingus launching a remarkable new business class package for transatlantic flights from summer 2015. Hallmarks of the service are comfort, convenience and sophistication.

New seats that transform into fully-flat two-metre long beds are upholstered by Botany Weaving, a Dublin-based family-owned company who work with over 120 of the world's leading airlines, in vibrant fibres that reflect Irish weaving heritage. There is complimentary wi-fi, a mobile network for texts and an ambitious new menu created with exec chef James Keaveney and food consultant Hugo Arnold, seasonally-driven and featuring signature dishes from the best restaurants across the country.

There is in addition a pre-dine service for those travelling from Boston or John F Kennedy airports, who wish to sleep straight after take-off. In-flight entertainment now comes courtesy of a 16-inch multi-touch, high definition personal monitor, which includes new release movies, classics, and over 60 hours of TV, even full box sets. A perfect marriage of style and substance.


Hampers and homemade fare at Arnotts

Seasonal pop-ups are a great way to track the passing of time and development of national interests, and from now until Christmas, Red Earth at Arnotts does exactly that. This pop-up food store is stocked to the brim with the best of Irish and international food producers, many of which are household names and brands - including Cartwright & Butler, Crossogue Preserves, Pandora Bell, Chocolate Garden of Ireland and the Italian artisan producer Del Gusto.

Each week there will be theatre and activity on-site, with tasting events and a chance to meet suppliers and producers. Pre-made and bespoke luxury hampers are a big thing here - think generous selections of preserves, chutneys, coffee, handmade chocolates, confectionary, artisan crackers - and may just be the answer to the question of Christmas gifts.


Celebrating five fabulous years for Susannagh Grogan

Susannagh Grogan is a farmer's daughter from Co Wexford who studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design in London and has designed for Macy's, Tommy Hilfiger, Estee Lauder, Victoria's Secret, Velvet and Liz Claibourne. Her first scarf collection, designed in 2009, had quotes printed on them, including: "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken", from Oscar Wilde, and "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence", from Aristotle.

Excellent sentiments, both. Since then, Susannagh has added leather accessories to her glorious silk scarves - clutches and gloves in designs that are entirely in keeping with the focus on vibrant florals. She also designs for retail giant Anthropologie and now, to celebrate five years in business under her own label, there is a new website; easier-to-use, more comprehensive, more fabulous.


Sunday Independent

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