tue 21/11/2017

19th century

Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland review, National Gallery - light-filled northern vistas

Finland is celebrating its centenary this year and the National Gallery's exhibition of four paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kalela (1865-1931) of a very large lake in central Finland is a beguiling glimpse of the passion its inhabitants attach to its...

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Semiramide, Royal Opera review - Rossini's Queen is back

It has long been a mystery why no new production of Semiramide should have been staged at Covent Garden since 1887: un offesa terribile considering that this splendid melodramma tragico should have been the inaugural production of the Royal Italian...

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Florian Boesch, Justus Zeyen, Wigmore Hall review - power, intimacy and atmosphere

Florian Boesch is a big man. He’s tall, stocky, and with his bald head and stubble could seem more like a gangster than a Lieder singer. His voice is beautiful, but it matches his appearance – big, weighty and imposing. He has subtlety too, though...

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Schubert Ensemble, Kings Place review - spot-on introductions, dazzling performances

To demonstrate what makes chamber masterpieces tick and then to play them, brilliantly, is a sequence which ought to happen more often. Perhaps too many musicians think their eloquence is confined to their instruments. Not violinist Simon Blendis...

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'Their DNA is forever ingrained in the keys' - Roman Rabinovich on playing composers' own pianos

I was recently in the UK for some solo recitals and to make my debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of the trip was playing a similar programme in two very different settings: first on some magnificent period...

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Impressionists in London, Tate Britain review - from the stodgy to the sublime

Jules Dalou, Edouard Lantéri, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Charles-François Daubigny, Alphonse Legros, Giuseppe de Nittis? Perhaps not household-name Impressionists, but the subtitle of Tate Britain's exhibition, French Artists in Exile 1870-1904, makes...

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In search of Proust's 'Vinteuil Sonata': violinist Maria Milstein on the writer's musical mystery

I remember very well the first time I read Swann’s Way, the first part of Marcel Proust’s monumental masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu). I was struck not only by the depth and beauty of the novel, but also the...

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Dmitri Alexeev, St John's Smith Square review - a Titan at 70

You won't have seen much of magisterial Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev recently, unless you happen to be a student at the Royal College of Music, where he is Professor of Advanced Piano Studies (they were out in force last night, cheering enough to...

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Leif Ove Andsnes, RFH review - interior magic from a master colourist

Such introspective subtlety might be mistaken for reticence. But from the rare instances when the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes lets rip - and they're never forced - you know he's wielding his palette with both skill and intuition, waiting for...

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The Lady from the Sea, Donmar Warehouse review - Nikki Amuka-Bird luminous in a sympathetic ensemble

What a profoundly beautiful play is Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea. It stands in relation to the earlier, relatively confined A Doll’s House, Ghosts and Rosmersholm as Shakespeare's late romances do to the more claustrophobic tragedies. And with what...

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The Seagull, Lyric Hammersmith review – is Lesley Sharp's Irina a sex addict?

The awful mother, the celebrity-obsessed teenager, the mediocre old writer who wants some young sex in his life – there are motifs in Chekhov’s The Seagull that fly merrily from one century to another, and Simon Stephens and Sean Holmes’ new modern-...

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Uchida, SCO, Ticciati, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - Berlioz steals the show

"Mitsuko Uchida plays Mozart" might have been the marketing tag to sell out this first concert in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's 2017-18 season (despite student and free under-18s take-up, the Usher Hall still wasn't full). "Dvořák Symphony No. 8...

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