tue 28/04/2015

fairytales

Swanhunter, Opera North, Linbury Studio Theatre

There was a moment half-way through Jonathan Dove’s children’s opera Swanhunter when I suddenly realised why pantomime developed its convention of the principal boy. Having a grown man prancing and posturing boyishly for the entertainment of a room...

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Cinderella

Lushly produced to within an inch of its pictorially ripe life, the new Disney/Kenneth Branagh live-action Cinderella couples swoony imagery with a cloying message about compassion. But all its pro forma qualities fall away as and when Cate...

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First Person: The Meaning of Mermaids

As a child I was bewitched by the tale of The Little Mermaid. I had it on a record and would play it and sit and sob on the settee, much to the bewilderment of my brothers. It wasn’t until years later that I found myself wondering what it was about...

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Die Zauberflöte, Royal Opera

Mozart’s The Magic Flute is one of those operas, like Verdi’s Il trovatore and all the mature Wagner masterpieces, which need a line-up of equally fine singers but rarely get it in the compromised world of the opera house. With Christiane Karg and...

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Hansel and Gretel, Welsh National Opera

After 16 years one might expect a revival of a repertory opera like Hansel and Gretel to come up with a dusty look and frayed edges. But Benjamin Davis has done a brilliant job pumping the life back into Richard Jones’s memorable but intricate 1998...

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Swan Lake, Royal Ballet

Is there an art-form more tied to bad as well as good tradition than classical ballet? Yolanda Sonnabend’s unatmospherically if expensively kitsch designs for this Swan Lake wouldn’t have lasted more than a season or two in the worlds of theatre and...

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The Nutcracker, Scottish Ballet, Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Every Nutcracker has its day, and every day has its Nutcracker. But sometimes history repeats itself, and so it was that I found myself last night in Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, scene of my own childhood encounters with ballet, preparing to watch...

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Edward Scissorhands, New Adventures, Sadler's Wells

For those who’ve seen one too many Nutcrackers, nothing says Christmas better than a Matthew Bourne production at Sadler’s Wells. A man whose mantelpiece is overflowing with Tony and Olivier awards is a safe bet for entertainrment – even when...

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Cinderella, New Wimbledon Theatre

Strange world, isn’t it? Yesterday morning, buoyed up by the Royal Opera’s impressive Tristan und Isolde, I was listening on CD to Linda Esther Gray, a Wagnerian soprano for the ages, singing the best Liebstod I know. In the evening, I was watching...

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DVD: Maleficent

Angelina Jolie carries this re-visited Disney classic. She is the flying buttress that supports the old story told anew, as commanding as the nuclear green energy she emits into the stratosphere and as striking as any original drawing may have been....

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Sampling the Myth, Royal Ballet

The Royal Opera House is on fire this month. Not literally (unless someone knocks over the flaming braziers outside) but with the varied illuminations of the Deloitte Ignite Festival, co-curated by the Royal Ballet and Minna Moore Ede of the...

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Diaghilev Festival Gala, London Coliseum

Bakst’s harem drapes and Roerich’s smoking, steaming Polovtsian camp may not have had the most lavish of recreations. But the rest of this homage to Diaghilev shone with an exuberance and even a precision one would not have thought possible from...

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