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  • Last night my daughter treated me to an evening at Castle Coole to experience the wonderful tones of Mezzo Soprano Ruby Philogene MBE and the scintillating notes of Julius Drake her accompanying pianist.

    I have never been to an opera before. My mother used to play opera music all day long and I hated it when I was a teenager. But it is so good to join in the excitement of a local festival.

    Castle Coole which is an 18th century Neo-classical mansion; is only a five minute drive away from my home but unfortunately as the festival office had over booked the event, we had to wait until eighty people were seated in the inner sanctum until we could find spare seats. Whilst we sat waiting in an outer room a tall, elegantly clad man smiled at me as he walked by; when I asked my friend who he was she told me it was Lord Belmore.

    We finally found seats at the back of the room. It was a real treat to see framed by two tall pillars, a woman with such talent singing Schubert Brahms, Faure and Saint Seans so powerfully; and every note the pianist made was perfect.

    I had taken my painkillers so that I would not feel too uncomfortable sitting for so long.

    When the concert was over we all milled out into the hall where we were given a glass of white wine to celebrate the last event of the festival.

    As we stepped out of the main entrance a magnificent double rainbow was visible above the wooded garden; a perfect end to a perfect evening.
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