mon 29/05/2017

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Stephen Walsh
Monday, 29 May 2017
This last of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s semi-staged Monteverdi series took us back practically to the very start of the whole genre. L’Orfeo was presented in Mantua in 1607 as a...
Jenny Gilbert
Monday, 29 May 2017
When TV drama tackles Britain’s class divide, the go-to working-class type is the northerner: gritty, blunt of vowel and partial to a deep-fried Mars bar. The first and perhaps...
Monday, 29 May 2017
This month a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat – Untitled, painted in 1982 – was sold at auction by Sotheby’s New York for $110.5 million. The buyer was Yusaku Maezawa, said to be...
Graham Rickson
Monday, 29 May 2017
The best music is always ripe for reinvention, though for every disc of Kraftwerk songs performed in mambo style there's a collection of Beatles hits massacred on pan pipes....
Boyd Tonkin
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Just as in the United States, the quest among Indian authors in English to deliver the single, knock-out novel that would capture their country’s infinite variety has long been...
Liz Thomson
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Wow! An unconventional opening for a book review maybe, but ‘“wow!” nonetheless. Subtitled "How Skiffle Changed the World", this is an impressive work of popular scholarship by...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Hoyt Axton’s songs were heard most widely when recorded by others. Steppenwolf recorded his “The Pusher” in 1967. It...
Rachel Halliburton
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Saddam Hussein’s name is never mentioned in The President’s Gardens, even though he haunts every page. The one time that the...
Peter Quinn
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Two of the most impressive young musicians on London’s jazz scene, tenor saxist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd...
David Nice
Saturday, 27 May 2017
There are certain roles where you’re lucky to catch one perfect incarnation in a lifetime. I thought I'd never see a soprano...
Tom Birchenough
Saturday, 27 May 2017
Make no mistake about it, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright to watch. London receives its first opportunity to appraise...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 27 May 2017
 Ståle Kleiberg: Mass for Modern Man Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and Choir/Eivind Gulberg Jensen (2L)There's a...
Guy Oddy
Saturday, 27 May 2017
There are not many bands who are obtuse enough to begin a gig with a 45 minute unrecorded song, especially when they are...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 27 May 2017
A man is caught up in a storm at sea; giant waves like Hokusai crests throw him onto a deserted tropical island. Over the...
Thomas H Green
Saturday, 27 May 2017
Helmut Geir has been around the block multiple times but, like an electro-sonic Batman, always pops up just when he’s needed...
Jasper Rees
Friday, 26 May 2017
Playwrights have long migrated to the small screen in search of better pay and room to manoeuvre. Most don’t leave it as...
Will Rathbone
Friday, 26 May 2017
Matt Hartley's personal take on London's housing crisis returns to the Hampstead Theatre's studio space downstairs and is...
Saskia Baron
Friday, 26 May 2017
It takes real skill to make a film about a desperate Syrian refugee and a dour middle-aged Finn reinventing himself and turn...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 26 May 2017
While the 36 records reviewed below run the gamut of Wreckless Eric to Democratic Republic of the Congo Afro-electronica,...
Adam Sweeting
Friday, 26 May 2017
There are great sportsmen, and on top of those there’s a handful of phenomena. Sachin Tendulkar is one of the latter, a...

THEARTSDESK Q&A: SOPRANO AIDA GARIFULLINA The Kazan-born prima donna on Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov and Stephen Frears

CLASSICAL CDS WEEKLY: KLEIBERG, LEGRAND, AIDA GARIFULLINA Norwegian choral music, French concertos and a young soprano's debut disc

★★★★ BILLY BRAGG - ROOTS, RADICALS AND ROCKERS From the Mississippi to the Mersey: a brief history of revolt in music

★★★★ ARUNDHATI ROY - THE MINISTRY OF UTMOST HAPPINESS A novel of love and war in a shattering time

★★★★ WHITE GOLD, BBC TWO Sleaze and sharp practice in the exciting world of double glazing

★★★★ AN OCTOROON, ORANGE TREE THEATRE A major work of new American drama receives its European premiere in Richmond

THEARTSDESK ON VINYL 28 From Wreckless Eric to Afro-electronica

★★★★ SWANS, ASYLUM, BIRMINGHAM Sonic adventurers prepare to bow out on an almighty high

disc of the day

CD: Tubular Brass - Tubular Bells

Superb brass recreation of a 1970s classic, with added baluphonium

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The best TV to watch this week

What to watch and where to find it

Paula, BBC Two review - Denise Gough's the real thing

Conor McPherson's thrillerish TV drama debut is lifted by star turn

White Gold, BBC Two review – rattling pace and razor-edged dialogue

Sleaze and sharp practice in the exciting world of double glazing


The Red Turtle review - Studio Ghibli loses its magic touch

Japanese-European co-production feels slow and ponderous

The Other Side of Hope review - Aki Kaurismäki at his tragicomic best

The great Finnish director, in possibly his last film, shows familiar humanism alongside dark comedy

Sachin: A Billion Dreams review - the incredible feats of cricket's 'Little Master'

How Sachin Tendulkar became one of the game's all-time greats

new music

CD: Tubular Brass - Tubular Bells

Superb brass recreation of a 1970s classic, with added baluphonium

Reissue CDs Weekly: Hoyt Axton

The baroque country masterpiece ‘My Griffin is Gone’ resurfaces

CD: Binker and Moses - Journey to the Mountain of Forever

Prodigious concept album from the brilliant sax-drums duo


Classical CDs Weekly: Kleiberg, Legrand, Aida Garifullina

Norwegian choral music, French concertos and a young soprano's debut disc

Sebestyén, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Fischer, RFH

Unforgettable Hungarians, including the magical presence of a great folk singer

Classical CDs Weekly: Joubert, Mahler, Simon Thacker & Justyna Jablonska

A very English opera, an iconic song cycle, and a meeting between guitar and cello


L'Orfeo, EBS, Gardiner, Colston Hall, Bristol

Gardiner's Monteverdi ends at the beginning and is none the worse for that

theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Aida Garifullina

The Kazan-born prima donna on Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov and Stephen Frears

The Mikado review - Sasha Regan's all-male operetta formula hits a reef

Familiar company faces can't quite compensate for an odd choice of setting


Jam review – obsession and resentment in the classroom
Debut play about teaching and the unteachable hits a nerve
An Octoroon review - slavery reprised as melodrama in a vibrantly theatrical show
A major work of new American drama receives its European premiere at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre


m¡longa, Brighton Festival review - sensual tango explosion

Sidi Larbi Charkaoui's tribute to the Argentine dance exudes vibrancy and dexterity

Symphonic Dances, Royal Ballet review - a truly interesting creation

New Scarlett creation shines in a musical mixed bill

Ghost Dances: Rambert, Sadler's Wells review - vital and joyfully precise dancing

This South American triple bill is highly entertaining, but should it be?


Jeremy Hardy, Brighton Festival review - expert raconteur shows political bite

Radio 4 regular's conversational style masks a passionate pin-sharp topicality

Ricky Gervais, Touring review - chatty and relaxed riffing

Some very personal material among the edgy content

Ayesha Hazarika, Soho Theatre review - 'politics is her patch'

Former Labour adviser finds the funny in politics


Injustice 2 review - the even better sequel

A superhero soap opera with more twists and turns than a Netflix 12-parter

Prey review - environmental puzzles steal the show

In space no one can hear you... ponder a puzzle

theartsdesk at The Hospital Club

Announcing a new partnership with the most creative club in London

visual arts

The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

Works by Basquiat and Lichtenstein have joined an exclusive list. Who else is on it?

Highlights from Photo London 2017 - virtual reality meets vintage treasure

Our resident photographer rummages through a mixed bag

latest comments

An excellent review, and one with which I...

DAAllen put my thoughts into words. I felt these...

I don't think I have ever seen 3 such distinctive...

'Well healed' is an ironic description in the...

I liked the pieces at the England and Co Gallery...

Thank heavens for Guy Ritchie who, having...

Thanks dear Sebastian Scotney for the great...

It is so true that love is all that matters and...


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