sat 19/08/2017

18th century

James Hamilton: Gainsborough - A Portrait review - an artistic life told with verve and enthusiasm

James Hamilton’s wholly absorbing biography is very different from the usual kind of art historical study that often surrounds such a major figure as Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). Hamilton is positively in love with his subject, and writes with...

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La clemenza di Tito, Glyndebourne review - fine musical manoeuvres in the dark

So much light in the Glyndebourne production of Brett Dean's Hamlet; so much darkness in Mozart's La clemenza di Tito according to director Claus Guth. Something is irredeemably rotten in the state of ancient Rome, at odds with the fundamental...

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Robin Ticciati on conducting Mozart - 'I wanted to create a revolution in the minds of the players'

When Glyndebourne's Music Director Robin Ticciati conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the new production of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito starting tonight, you can be sure that it will sound utterly fresh, startling even. As did...

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Le nozze di Figaro, Clonter Opera review - a wedding full of future stars

Clonter Opera is a finishing school for young opera performers, with its own well appointed theatre and professional administration and artistic direction, based on a farm in Cheshire near Jodrell Bank. It’s seen a succession of promising young post...

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The Magic Flute, Longborough Festival review - sparkling and moving

About The Magic Flute there’s a certain amount of domestic theatre and a great deal of pantomime. It calls for fun, sentiment, movement, a measure of spectacle, and plenty of direct communication with the audience. But like the mechanicals’ play in...

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Buxton Festival review - early Verdi, earlier Mozart and refreshing Britten

“The subject is neither political nor religious; it is fantastical” wrote Verdi to the librettist Piave about his opera Macbeth. “The opera is not about the rise of a modern fascist: nor is it about political tyranny. It is a study in character”...

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OAE, Christie, St John's Smith Square

William Christie chose a suitably light and breezy programme for this warm summer evening’s concert at St. John’s Smith Square. The concert was titled “Bach goes to Paris”, with works chosen to highlight the connections between the German master and...

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Jonathan Miles: St Petersburg review - culture and calamity

Talk about survival: St Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, now again St Petersburg, all the same city, has it nailed down. It was founded through the mad enthusiasm, intelligence, determination and just off-the-scale energy of Peter the Great in 1703...

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Mitridate, Re di Ponto, Royal Opera review - Crowe and costumes light up pointless revival

Why stage a stiff opera about half-frozen royals by a not-yet-divine Mozartino? The best Mitridate really deserves is one of those intimate concert performances with brilliant young singers at which Ian Page's Classical Opera excels. Yet this is the...

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Der Rosenkavalier, Welsh National Opera review - hard to imagine a stronger cast

Der Rosenkavalier, you might think, is one of those operas that belong in a specific place and time and no other. “In Vienna,” says Strauss's score, “in the first years of Maria Theresia’s reign” (i.e. the 1740s). But this, of course, is a...

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Poldark, Series 3, BBC One review - tempestuous passions and pantomime villains ride again

Is it always the same bit of Cornish clifftop they gallop along in Poldark? Anyway here it was again, raising the curtain on the third series. As the camera flew in over a gaggle of squawking seagulls spiralling above the foaming surf crashing on...

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theartsdesk in Göttingen: Handel for all

"Love is in the air," croons or rather bellows presenter Juri Tetzlaff, getting his audience of adults and children to bellow back the wordless refrain, arms swaying above their heads. Mezzo Sophie Rennert, dragged up as noble Lotario, and soprano...

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