tue 12/12/2017

medieval

Blu-ray: Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky is all the more enjoyable once you get past what it isn’t; Terry Gilliam’s 1977 directorial debut is a medieval romp starring Michael Palin and a short-lived Terry Jones, but audiences shouldn’t expect a Monty Python film. Gilliam and...

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Colour, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

It is sobering to think that the medieval and Renaissance paintings that fill our galleries represent just a fraction of the artistic output of that period. Panel paintings – not to mention exquisitely fragile wall paintings – have for the most part...

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Sicily: Culture and Conquest, British Museum

This exhibition – the UK's first major exploration of the history of Sicily – highlights two astonishing epochs in the cultural history of the island, with a small bridging section in between. Spanning 4,000 years and bringing together over 200...

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Dan Cruickshank's Civilisation Under Attack, BBC Four

This was one of the most disturbing, terrifying and informative programmes imaginable, made more so by Dan Cruickshank’s calm demeanour as he interrogated everyone from scholars to fanatics about the actions and rationale of the Islamic State (IS)...

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Tristan und Isolde, Longborough Festival

It’s well-known that Wagner shelved The Ring two thirds of the way through in favour of Tristan with the aim of producing something that could be put on quickly in a conventional theatre. Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way. Yet Tristan,...

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Saints and Sinners: Britain's Millennium of Monasteries, BBC Four

When in Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies Thomas Cromwell exclaims in exasperation,  “to each monk, one bed; to each bed, one monk. Is that so hard for them?” he sums up the state of moral decay into which the monasteries had apparently...

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Canterbury Cathedral, BBC Two

Attracting over one million visitors each year, Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. With its picturesque location and very nice, very white staff, the cathedral offers an easy metaphor for the version...

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Britain's Bloodiest Dynasty, Channel 5

Dan Jones has turned up to narrate the dramatised story of the Plantagenets in history lite mode, perhaps aimed at capturing a young audience. In Plantagenet country, as shown on TV, we witness a medieval version of soap opera family sagas where all...

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theartsdesk in Bamberg: Top Town, Top Orchestra

As a town of 70,000 or so people, Bamberg boxes dazzlingly above its weight in at least two spheres. The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, risen to giddy heights under its chief conductor of the last 14 years Jonathan Nott, is decisively among Germany’s...

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Lohengrin, Welsh National Opera

What is one to make of Lohengrin, Wagner’s last “opera” (as opposed to music drama), in this day and age? Is it a medieval romance, like Weber’s Freischütz but with a deus ex machina at the beginning rather than the end; or is it a nineteenth-...

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The York Mystery Plays, Museum Gardens, York

Is it the greatest story ever told, or the most indulgent nativity ever staged? The return of the York Mystery Plays – this summer’s blue-ribbon theatrical spectacular in the North – begins by beguiling, ends up bemusing, while in between is a...

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Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination, British Library

In 1757, what had previously been the royal collection of manuscripts was handed over to the nascent British Museum. Edward IV, who started the collection in the 15th century, had created a collection of books designed to display the greater glory...

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