sun 03/05/2015

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Dalibor, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican

Gavin Dixon

Jiří Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are on to a good thing with Czech opera. Prague is major centre for world-class opera, but much of the repertoire performed there is...

The Virtues of Things, Linbury Studio Theatre

Alexandra Coghlan

How many words would you expect in an average libretto? 10,000? 15,000? Whatever that number is you can triple it and then some for The Virtues of Things – a new opera from Sally...

The Warlocks, Rainbow, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

The Warlocks are a psychedelic band from LA that dress not unlike the Velvet Underground in their prime and who are clearly not given to star-like behaviour. They slope onto the...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Eurovision 2015

Kieron Tyler

 Various Artists: Building Bridges - Eurovision Song Contest Vienna 2015Mind-bogglingly, Australia is a first-time entrant in Eurovision 2015. The nature of Europe may be a...

Król Roger, Royal Opera

Alexandra Coghlan

Let’s get one thing straight at the outset: Szymanowski’s 1926 opera Król Roger isn’t a lovely occasional oddity, a rarity whose appeal is largely novelty, or a dust-it-off-once-a...

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Peter Perrett

Thomas H Green

Peter Perrett (b. 1952) is best known as the singer and songwriter of the Only Ones, a group who originally flared to brilliant life between 1976 and 1981. Born to an English...

Cornelius Johnson, National Portrait Gallery

Florence Hallett

It’s far too easy to think about the history of art as a series of class acts, with one superlative achievement following...

Anzac Girls, More4

Adam Sweeting

For Australians and New Zealanders, the grim meat-grinder of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 was their equivalent of the...

Classical CDs Weekly: Lutosławski, Szymanowski, Jórunn Viðar, The Revolutionary Drawing Room

Graham Rickson

Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra, Szymanowski: Three Fragments from Poems by Jan Kasprowicz Polish National Radio...

Far From the Madding Crowd

Adam Sweeting

The arrival of Thomas Vinterberg's new treatment of Thomas Hardy's novel has triggered a retro-wallow in John Schlesinger's...

The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare's Globe

Alexandra Coghlan

There’s a certainty, a reassurance that comes with attending a Globe show. You know that however bad things get, however...

SCO, Swensen, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Christopher Lambton

It was as a violin soloist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra that Joseph Swensen first appeared, in the mid-1980s, on the...

The Game, BBC Two

Tom Birchenough

Rum old business, espionage – at least in the way we Brits are still pursuing it. For all the reality that the existential...

Game of Thrones: Episodes 2 & 3

Stuart Houghton

The typical episode of the Game of Thrones TV show has been memorably compared to Twitter: there are 140 characters and...

Everyman, National Theatre

Marianka Swain

As we stagger towards electoral chaos, isn’t it comforting to think there might be a master plan at work? That Russell Brand...

Grivnov, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

David Nice

Deep pain and sadness expressed through intense creative discipline aren’t qualities noted often enough in the music of...

Blood, Soho Theatre

Aleks Sierz

Tamasha is a new writing theatre company which specialises in plays — often adaptations or reimaginings of classics —...

Samba

Jasper Rees

A French romantic comedy about immigration? Seeing Samba in election week may not be on Nigel Farage’s to-do list, but that...

I Wish to Die Singing, Finborough Theatre

Jenny Gilbert

Agitprop is a term that seems to have dropped out of use. It has too many negative connotations; it smacks of political rant...

Peter Kay's Car Share, BBC One

Veronica Lee

Peter Kay's first sitcom in 10 years is always something to look forward to, and it achieves another first: the BBC made the...

Ensemble InterContemporain, Pintscher, Barbican

Peter Quantrill

Be a soloist: take responsibility for yourself. These are not maxims often encountered in musical ensembles where unity of...

Follies, Royal Albert Hall

Matt Wolf

God love Christine Baranski: Eight years after the Tony and Emmy-winning actress played the supporting role of Carlotta...

Stephen Hough, RFH

Jessica Duchen

It took just two bars of Debussy's La plus que lente for Stephen Hough to transport the entire Royal Festival Hall to Paris...

San Fermin, Jazz Café

Matthew Wright

San Fermin have enough brass to rock Mardi Gras and the vocal range to stretch an opera chorus, but they are, still, a pop...

 

GRIVNOV, LPO, JUROWSKI, RFH Rachmaninov's dark heart encapsulated in the London Philharmonic's festival finale

EVERYMAN, NATIONAL THEATRE Stylishly updated morality play needs more provocative foundation

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE Jonathan Munby's Merchant is quiet, but delivers a deadly final blow

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD Superb interpretation of Thomas Hardy's novel by Thomas Vinterberg

THEARTSDESK Q&A: MUSICIAN PETER PERRETT The Only Ones' elusive frontman tells all – a tale of love, sex, drugs and extraordinary music

CORNELIUS JOHNSON, NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY A forgotten artist eclipsed by Van Dyck as portrait painter to Charles I

KRÓL ROGER, ROYAL OPERA A triumphant return to the stage for Szymanowski's neglected score

disc of the day

CD: Mumford and Sons - Wilder Mind

Former hipster-folkies find their niche in AOR

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We Made It

We Made It: Candle Maker Ted Thompson

From Cumbria to the Globe, it's Ted's beeswax

We Made It: Digital Knitters Knyttan

Digital technology and craft principles creating one-off designs

We Made It: Art & Makers Collective Garudio Studiage

Meet the makers of objets de pop art in the heart of London

tv

Anzac Girls, More4

Australian nurses-at-war drama lacks gravitas (and a decent budget)

The Game, BBC Two

New Cold War spy drama follows a familiar recipe

Peter Kay's Car Share, BBC One

The comic's first sitcom in a decade is a delight

film

Far From the Madding Crowd

Superb interpretation of Thomas Hardy's novel by Thomas Vinterberg

DVD: The Duke of Burgundy

Kinkily unBritish pastiche Seventies lesbian erotica starring Borgen's statsminister

Samba

Charming French romcom tackles the absurdities of immigration

new music

The Warlocks, Rainbow, Birmingham

LA six-piece lay down some dark psychedelia

Reissue CDs Weekly: Eurovision 2015

Never mind the Finnish punk, the year Australia came to play is defined by musical sludge

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Peter Perrett

The Only Ones' elusive frontman tells all – a tale of love, sex, drugs and extraordinary music

classical

Classical CDs Weekly: Lutosławski, Szymanowski, Jórunn Viðar, The Revolutionary Drawing Room

Orchestral music from Poland and Iceland, and Viennese classical string quartets

SCO, Swensen, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

Meticulous readings of 20th-century masterworks

Grivnov, LPO, Jurowski, RFH

Rachmaninov's dark heart encapsulated in the London Philharmonic's festival finale

opera

Dalibor, BBCSO, Bělohlávek, Barbican

Superior performance makes a compelling case for Smetana’s neglected masterpiece

The Virtues of Things, Linbury Studio Theatre

Too much talk and not enough song

Król Roger, Royal Opera

A triumphant return to the stage for Szymanowski's neglected score

theatre

The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare's Globe

Jonathan Munby's Merchant is quiet, but delivers a deadly final blow

Everyman, National Theatre

Stylishly updated morality play needs more provocative foundation

Blood, Soho Theatre

New bitter-sweet romantic love story from Tamasha is brilliantly written and wonderfully staged

visual arts

Cornelius Johnson, National Portrait Gallery

A forgotten artist eclipsed by Van Dyck as portrait painter to Charles I

John Wood and Paul Harrison, Carroll/Fletcher

The Laurel and Hardy of the art world venture from comedy to failed utopian dreams

Sonia Delaunay, Tate Modern

Eclipsed by her painter husband, the artist is finally receiving full recognition

dance

Ahnen, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Sadler's Wells

Family lore and deep-seated fears explored with surprising humour, and a technical glitch

BBC Young Dancer 2015, BBC Four

Impressive talents in remarkably gimmick-free Beeb competition

La Fille mal gardée, Royal Ballet

Ashton's pastoral comedy of love among the haystacks continues to thrill and delight

comedy

Panti: High Heels in Low Places, Soho Theatre

Drag artist tells her charming and funny story

James Freedman: Man of Steal, Menier Chocolate Factory

The art of pickpocketing explained, plus some corny patter

The Pub Landlord, Touring

Al Murray on terrific form with his appalling creation

gaming

Game of Thrones: Episodes 2 & 3

A workmanlike second helping but things are looking up in episode three

The Quest Keeper

Keep on movin' in this endless runner, roguelike and more mash-up

Mortal Kombat X

Blood, gore and violence – fun beat 'em up action, but not for the faint-hearted

Listed

Listed: The Very Best of 2015
theartsdesk's writers recommend the one thing above all to look forward to in each art form
Listed: The Facts about Factual TV in 2014
This year's documentaries climbed high and swung low on Britain's social ladder
Listed: Science Fiction in Videogames
Nearly all videogames are fantastical, but few are interestingly fantastical

latest comments

I have no difficulty with the theoretical concept...

So so happy that at long last dance is being...

Hi, if anyone knows what the 'picasso' piece you...

magical and memorable recital in a full RFH. I...

Hough's performance last night was brilliant and...

I was also near the stage and found it difficult...

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