mon 11/12/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Monday, 11 December 2017
After Sakari Oramo's dazzling Sibelius rattlebag with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the centenary day of Finnish independence, things weren't looking so good for Esa-Pekka Salonen...
Ismene Brown
Monday, 11 December 2017
Nureyev, the most notorious new production at the Bolshoi Ballet’s modern history, premiered last night in Moscow to a 15-minute standing ovation and exclamations of official...
Matt Wolf
Monday, 11 December 2017
The play that famously got away when one of its stars (quite literally) jumped ship is back. In 1995, Stephen Fry abandoned the West End premiere of Simon Gray's espionage drama...
Florence Hallett
Monday, 11 December 2017
Dedicated to a foundation stone of western artistic training, this exhibition attempts a celebratory note as the Royal Academy approaches its 250th anniversary. But if the printed...
Katherine Waters
Monday, 11 December 2017
The eel is dying. Its body flits through a series of complicated knots which become increasingly grotesque torques. Immersed in a pool of brine — concentrated salt water five...
Robert Beale
Monday, 11 December 2017
Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto is a big work in every sense: four movements, plus a solo cadenza before the last one that makes it seem almost like five; a soloist’s role...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 11 December 2017
Pantomime may be a very old art form, but the Lyric Hammersmith has been injecting some freshness into it each year since...
Kieron Tyler
Monday, 11 December 2017
French stylist Gaspard Royant has recorded at London’s garage-rock-central studio Toe Rag and been produced by Edwyn Collins...
Katherine Waters
Sunday, 10 December 2017
Utopias have a way of going up in flames. Rachel Hewitt’s new book, A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 10 December 2017
A nineteen-minute adaptation of “Jack Orion” took up the whole of Side Two of Cruel Sister, Pentangle’s fourth album. It's...
Guy Oddy
Sunday, 10 December 2017
It’s been a busy year for veteran power poppers Cheap Trick. Christmas Christmas is their second album in six months, after...
Ralph Moore
Saturday, 09 December 2017
“Back in the Sixties, before I was born…” Robert Plant has always been as amusing a raconteur as he is a deft weaver of...
Nick Hasted
Saturday, 09 December 2017
There are many obvious Hollywood responses to someone losing their legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. Director David...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 09 December 2017
Theatreland is currently awash with pantomimes and rehashes of A Christmas Carol, so all credit to this ambitious new...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 09 December 2017
Bach: Christmas Oratorio Soloists, Gaechinger Cantorey/Hans-Christoph Rademann (Carus)That these performers aren't yet well-...
Barney Harsent
Saturday, 09 December 2017
It’s easy to be cynical about Christmas pop albums. This is, of course, because so many of them are awful, hastily cobbled...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 08 December 2017
Like a bizarro-world echo of Lenny Abrahamson’s Academy-titillating Room, Dave McCary’s endearing indie feature takes a...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 08 December 2017
Beneath the creamy overlay of gowns, crystal chandeliers, palaces, uniformed flunkies and a sumptuous (albeit CGI-enhanced)...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 08 December 2017
Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe is a true prince of darkness here, picking out Leslie Caron’s beautiful eyes and gleaming...
David Nice
Thursday, 07 December 2017
As the Parliament of the Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire declared independence on 6 December...

THE ARTS DESK ON VINYL 34 Trent Reznor, Shpongle, Roni Size, Willie Nelson and more

★★★★ DEAR BRUTUS, SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE Barrie’s grown-up fantasy gets a welcome centenary revival

★★★★★ MENASHE Yiddish-language film with a heart of gold


★★★★★ JOHNSTON, BBCSO, ORAMO, BARBICAN Sheer adrenalin in early Sibelius

★★★★ BARNUM, MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY A big, blowsy spectacle

disc of the day

CD: Gaspard Royant - Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Classy, knowing French entry in the easily maligned field of seasonal albums

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Blue Planet II, BBC One review - just how fragile?

Spectacle and storytelling combine into an urgent plea for our oceans’ health

The best TV to watch this week

What's on and where to find it

The Crown, Series 2, Netflix review - all our yesterdays, cunningly rewritten

Private passions and public crises batter the royal household


Stronger review - Oscar-worthy straight talk and tough love

Jake Gyllenhaal as a Boston Marathon bomb non-victim, in superb romance

The Best Films Out Now

theartsdesk recommends the top movies of the moment

Brigsby Bear review - the healing power of fantasy

Tale of boy and imaginary bear is unexpectedly upbeat

new music

CD: Gaspard Royant - Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Classy, knowing French entry in the easily maligned field of seasonal albums

Reissue CDs Weekly: Pentangle

Bonus-stuffed complete-works box set dedicated to Britain’s important musical boundary pushers

CD: Cheap Trick - Christmas Christmas

It’s a glammed-up Yuletide with the Illinois power pop veterans


Salonen conducts Sibelius, RFH/Oramo conducts Salonen, Barbican review - Finnish psychedelia

A colouristic master excels as composer and - eventually - as conductor

Capuçon, BBCPO, Mena, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - awesome unity

A UK premiere for Shchedrin plus two Shostakovich masterpieces

Johnston, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - sheer adrenalin in early Sibelius

Perfect salute to the Finnish independence centenary includes a vital UK premiere


Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Royal Opera review - one tenor, two samey brutes

Bryan Hymel's strong-man double-act outshone by Elīna Garanča's Santuzza

I, Object review - this operatic double-bill delivers just a single hit

A bright new talent and a tired old bore make for uneasy bedfellows

theartsdesk in Stockholm - HK Gruber and sacred monsters

Viennese composer, conductor, chansonnier and double-bass player is a force of nature


Cell Mates, Hampstead Theatre review - intriguing yet opaque
Simon Gray play is better served by its cast this time round
The Box of Delights, Wilton's Music Hall review - children's classic novel transferred to stage
Matthew Kelly and Josefina Gabrielle provide double the value in John Masefield classic


Bolshoi's controversial Nureyev ballet opens – to ovations and bans

Creator Kirill Serebrennikov, under house arrest, denied permission to see his own ballet

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - superb start to the festive dance season

Tchaikovsky's grand and gorgeous classic gets the five-star treatment

Sylvia, Royal Ballet review - Ashton rarity makes a delicious evening

Marianela Nuñez and Vadim Muntagirov sparkle as arcadian lovers


Star Wars Battlefront II review - an opportunity missed

The force is less strong with this one

Call of Duty: WWII review - war is an unpleasant business

The veteran franchise returns for another bout of epic war games

visual arts

From Life, Royal Academy review - perplexingly aimless

Working from casts and life models has been instrumental in defining Western painting

The Best Exhibitions in London

Soviet art, Cézanne, Harry Potter and more: our favourite shows to see now

Rose Wylie: Quack Quack, Serpentine Gallery - anarchy at 83

The octogenarian who paints with the fresh eye of a child

latest comments

There is NO "E" in Renbourn, what gaff.

The spelling of the surname is, and was always,...

What an absolute piece of rubbish! Why on earth...

A production in Nazi Germany in 1932? The Nazis...

He has a melodious voice. I liked his ghazals too.

Many thanks for your comments. A first, I think,...


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters