It’s a magical night under a full moon in an Italian vineyard lit by fairy lights and candles; a sumptuous Italian feast accompanied by prosecco spritzers, our entertainment a string quartet, ballet and opera.
This is the Gold Coast at its best – a balmy evening, a fairly casual event celebrating talent we rarely see. We are attending ‘A Night in Tuscany’, a soirée organised by Neva Weber of D.r.e.s.s.e.dGC where people can socialise, be entertained and donate to charity, all at the same time.
We know little of what to expect as we enter Salt Meats Cheese, the Italian eatery in The 4217, but it’s immediately apparent that this night will be unique. The venue has been transformed into a Tuscan garden themed with vines overhead and strings of fairy lights framing the venue. On entry, the dulcet tones of the Gold Coast String Quartet set the mood for a very cultural evening.
The Salt Meats Cheese team has prepared us a four-course banquet: starters of arancini, bruschetta and the freshest focaccia rustica (focaccia filled with spinach and ricotta cheese), followed by platters of cheese and salumi, caprese salad, woodfired pizza, handmade pasta, moreish rich lasagne and gnocchi, with handmade Sicilian cannoli and tiramisu for dessert. It’s an indulgent rustic feast.
Meanwhile, we are entertained by Aluna Dreaming, an opera duo whose thrilling dream-like voices soar to the heavens, Cassandra’s Astrology, and Silk Row, a ballet and contemporary dance troupe from Amanda Bollinger Dance Academy and the Kay Flynn Dance Academy.
It’s a most charming evening. We make new friends, a couple who’ve travelled a few hundred kilometres to attend. It’s a rare cultural opportunity, they say, so they’re spending a weekend on the coast to attend enjoy it.
For me, the pinnacle of the evening comes when one of the dancers enters the stage: Joshua Price. Almost effortlessly, he soars, wooing the revellers into silence. We watch, awe-struck, as he gracefully moves across the stage, reaching great heights despite the small area.
Gold medal winner of the 2016 Genée International Ballet Competition, Joshua has just returned from the finals of the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland.
He is due to take up a full scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School in June 2017. Somehow, we know, we’ll hear more of him, with greater heights yet to come in his career.
Even the ballet and opera uninitiated comment on how enjoyable the evening has been. We end the evening reflecting that the enchanting midsummer’s night with its eclectic mix of culture is one we’d like to see more often.
‘A Tuscan Night’ was held at Salt Meats Cheese, The 4217, 1 Beach Rd., Surfers Paradise on Saturday, 11 March 2017 by DressedGC.
NOTE: $10 of each ticket price was donated to domestic violence charity RizeUp Australia.