sun 24/09/2017

mythology

DVD/Blu-ray: American Gods

Neil Gaiman understood the country where he’d landed as an immigrant in the Nineties by writing American Gods. His first substantial novel after his crowning comics achievement, The Sandman, mined an idea of infinite plenitude: if every immigrant...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Daughters of the Dust

Julie Dash’s remarkable 1991 film tells the story of the Peazant family, the descendants of freed slaves who live on the Georgia Sea Islands, an isolated community on the South-Eastern seaboard of the USA, more in touch with African traditions than...

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theartsdesk at Budapest Wagner Days: Bayreuth on the Danube

While Merkel's Germany has won back world leadership, Wagner's festival shrine at Bayreuth lost its post-war pre-eminence years ago. There hasn't been a strong Ring there since Kupfer's, which I was lucky enough to see in 1991, and things will only...

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John Man: Amazons review - the real warrior women of the ancient world

As Wonder Woman hits screens worldwide, the publication of a book that explores the myth and reality of the Amazon seems timely. The latest of John Man’s works of popular history is opportunistic enough to end with a fascinating account of the...

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L'Orfeo, EBS, Gardiner, Colston Hall, Bristol

This last of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s semi-staged Monteverdi series took us back practically to the very start of the whole genre. L’Orfeo was presented in Mantua in 1607 as a court opera, and will have been seen and heard by a fraction of the...

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword review - Guy Ritchie's deadly weapon

Guy Ritchie is back birthing turkeys. Who can remember/forget that triptych of stiffs Swept Away, Revolver and RocknRolla? Now, having redemptively bashed his CV back into shape with the assistance of Sherlock Holmes, the mockney rebel turns to...

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Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors, Gagosian

At 93, Picasso’s revered biographer, Sir John Richardson, has curated a vital new celebration of the artist’s life and work, focusing on one of his most enduring and delightful subjects, the Minotaur. The exhibition at the Gagosian in fact charts...

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Sunday Book: Neil Gaiman - Norse Mythology

Odin the All-Father, “lord of the slain, the gallows god”, has two ravens that “perch on his shoulders and whisper into his ears” as he wanders in disguise around the world. They are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory. Over many centuries, the...

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Das Rheingold, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

With two of the biggest parts of the tetralogy already behind them, it might have seemed that Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé would aim simply at as near a perfect recording-cum-concert of Das Rheingold as possible, to get one more in the can and head...

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Stravinsky: Myths and Rituals 4, Philharmonia, Salonen, RFH

Stravinsky's music, chameleonic yet always itself, offers so many lines of thought. One struck me immediately with the descending, even harp notes and tender, veiled strings at the start of his 1947 ballet Orpheus last night: the inexorable beat of...

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The Exterminating Angel, Die Liebe der Danae, Salzburg Festival

"Because the world has outlived its own downfall, it nevertheless needs art." Paul Celan's words stand alongside Anselm Kiefer's Jacob's Dream, part of a stunning Surrealism-centric exhibition in the foyer of Salzburg's second and more amenable...

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Die Walküre, Opera North, Southbank Centre

Enter the human - and superhuman demands for at least four of the singers - in the second, towering instalment of Wagner's Ring cycle. It says so much for Opera North's achievement so far that no one fell in any way short of the sometimes insane...

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