thu 23/03/2017

16th century

CD: Jethro Tull - The String Quartets

On Jethro Tull's classic "Songs from the Wood" Ian Anderson promised "all things refined". And refined the band certain has been. Musically educated, too. For 40-odd years they have specialised in baroque rock and minstrel ballads all served up...

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Michelangelo & Sebastiano, National Gallery

The story of two characters whose friendship ended in bitter enmity is juicy enough for a typical spring blockbuster and yet this is an exhibition with a serious and scholarly bent. While the National Gallery is no stranger to academic exhibitions...

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Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

A lovely, scholarly and gently revelatory exhibition, Madonnas and Miracles explores a neglected area of the perennially popular and much-studied Italian Renaissance – the place of piety in the Renaissance home. We are used to admiring the great...

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Bruegel, Holburne Museum, Bath

Painted in c.1640, David Teniers the Younger’s Boy Blowing Bubbles depicts a theme that would have been entirely familiar to his wife’s great-grandfather, the founder of one of art’s most illustrious dynasties, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525-1569...

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Othello, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

There's no reason why ruffs and candles shouldn't mesh with bursts of contemporary speech, song and lighting, given a defter hand than director Ellen McDougall's. Shakespeare's timeless issues of racism and sexism have plenty of mileage in them,...

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Hamlet, Almeida Theatre

How often do you leave a production of Shakespeare's most layered drama in tears, thinking "what an astonishing play!" even more than "what a fine Hamlet!" (or not)? Last night the Bard proved even greater than his Dane. Not that Andrew Scott was...

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Best of 2016: Art

Before we consign this miserable year to history, there are a few good bits to be salvaged; in fact, for the visual arts 2016 has been marked by renewal and regeneration, with a clutch of newish museum directors getting into their stride, and...

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Love's Labour's Lost/Much Ado About Nothing, RSC, Theatre Royal Haymarket

“The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo.” A sudden cold breeze blows through the endless summer afternoon of Love’s Labour's Lost in the play’s final moments. Death enters Shakespeare’s Edenic garden and innocence is lost. But what...

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Corkin, Siglo de Oro, Allies, Shoreditch Church

Advent is as profitable for choirs as it is tricky to programme. How to delight the palates of carol-hungry audiences while offering them new treats? How to reconcile the fairy-lights of ubiquitous consumption and satiation with the Biblical call of...

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The Sixteen, Kings Place

And so it comes to an end. Six months, 33 concerts, and many miles of travelling later, The Sixteen’s annual Choral Pilgrimage is now finished for another year. With so many concerts it’s inevitable that the singers’ relationship to the repertoire...

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Beyond Caravaggio, National Gallery

Cheekily bottom-like, their downy skin blushing enticingly, these must be the sexiest apricots ever painted. If you held out your hand, you might just be able to touch them, there in the foreground of what is thought to be Caravaggio’s earliest...

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Shakespeare triple bill, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells

Shakespeare has always been a fertile source of inspiration for story ballets. Plays which exist in multiple dance versions include Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet, while Shakespeare...

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