fri 31/10/2014

Paris

La Bohème, English National Opera

ENO may not always have matched the Royal Opera in the Great Puccini Voices stakes. But it's served up many of the classiest Mimìs, with Valerie Masterson, Mary Plazas and Elizabeth Llewellyn as top seamstresses. Californian former beauty queen...

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10 Questions for Soprano Sandrine Piau

French soprano Sandrine Piau, born in 1965 in a south-western suburb of Paris, has an agile, supple voice. It soars, so critics reach readily for all those bird metaphors: nightingale, sparrow, "she leaves the earth on wings of song" and so on. She...

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Manon, Royal Ballet

In a moment of wild fantasy, I thought I might try and write a whole review of Manon without mentioning sex. After all, there’s plenty of other stuff going on in Kenneth MacMillan’s tale, which last night at the Royal Opera House celebrated 40 years...

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DVD: Venus in Fur

Action film fans should stay away from this Roman Polanski duet. But those who like their sexual politics served in symbolic form will be delighted. Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner stars as an actress, Vanda, and Polanski-lookalike Mathieu...

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theartsdesk in Paris: San Francisco Ballet 2

Having a strong company style is usually no bad thing, especially if – as with San Francisco Ballet – the main component of it is a commitment to excellence. It has been impressive watching the gritty energy with which, night after night, the...

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theartsdesk in Paris: San Francisco Ballet 1

In 2005, San Francisco Ballet were the first company to visit Paris as part of a new summer dance festival, Les Étés de la Danse. Helped not only by this auspicious start, but by the obvious demand for live dance in a month traditionally barren for...

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Mr Morgan's Last Love

A May-September relationship is given a winter chill here. When Matthew Morgan (Michael Caine), an American widower in Paris, meets pretty young dance instructor Pauline (Clemence Poesy) on a bus, the ageing male fantasy suggested by the title seems...

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DVD: Boy Meets Girl; Mauvais Sang

Much has been said before about these two Leos Carax greats, but the beauty of these surrealist French films is that you can enjoy them again and again, each time finding something new to appreciate. It's been a while since Boy Meets...

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DVD: The Past

A pervading sense of melancholia runs through this film, and yet it is neither chilling, nor disaffecting. Akin to one of the key characters, watching it is a bit like having an out-of-body experience. The Past hovers somewhere between fight and...

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3 Days to Kill

Alarm bells jangle when the first thing you see on the screen is a caption saying "CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia". It's the sum of all cliches, and therefore the perfect way to tee off this incoherent pseudo-thriller from director McG which...

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Venus in Fur

For an artist who famously can't travel to America, Roman Polanski would appear to have an unstoppable passion for filming small-cast Broadway hits. On the back of Death and the Maiden and Carnage, both of which diminished their stage sources, along...

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Miss and the Doctors

This low-budget Parisian dramedy about doctor-patient relations is as odd, timid and well-intentioned as its socially maladjusted protagonists. Miss and the Doctors is writer-director Axelle Ropert's second feature after 2009's The Wolberg Family....

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