wed 22/11/2017

Venice

Sargent, Dulwich Picture Gallery review - wonders in watercolour

This sparkling display of some four score watercolours from the first decade of the last century throw an unfamiliar light on the artistry of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), the last great swagger portrait painter in the western tradition. None...

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57th Venice Biennale review - riveting and bewildering

Riveting and bewildering, the 57th Venice Biennale has just opened its myriad doors to the public with several thousand exhibits spread across Venice and its islands. The preview days were thronged with the art world and its coterie of high and low...

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theartsdesk in Venice: Shylock comes home

"In such a night as this..." begins Lorenzo's beautiful speech in Act V of The Merchant of Venice. Watching Shakespeare's play in the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo on a balmy evening under a darkening navy blue sky, with cicadas providing a busy background...

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Venice Architecture Biennale 2016

Arts festivals the size of the Venice Biennale are inevitably patchy. The appointed directors are hardly ever given enough time to curate and fill absolutely vast volumes of space. They can exhort the many national and individual participants to...

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The Silk Road, BBC Four

Terracotta warriors, Bactrian two-humped camels, Heavenly Horses, Buddhist caves, sand dunes, the world’s first printed book, a silk factory and temples galore including one that was the great mosque in Xi’an, were but some of the ingredients in a...

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James McNeill Whistler: Prints, The Fine Art Society

It can be given to few commercial galleries to have sustained a relationship with the same artist for over 130 years, but such is the link between The Fine Art Society and James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903).The FAS was founded in 1876, and is still...

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Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

The New Yorker Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979) was the classic poor little rich girl: insecure, a woman with scores, perhaps hundreds of lovers, longing for love, the writer of tell-all memoirs. What sets her apart is that she was also the creator of...

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Le Donne Curiose, Guildhall School

Scintillating gems scattered rather thinly through long-winded operas: that superficial impression of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s often delectable music isn’t going to be changed greatly by seeing his first success of 1903, Le donne curiose (“Nosy Women...

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Theeb

The epic and the intimate combine impressively in Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar’s debut feature Theeb. The epic is there is the scale of the stunning desert landscapes that are the backdrop – though the desert itself almost feels like a...

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Death in Venice, Garsington Opera

Lagoon, miasma and scirocco may seem as far away as you can get from the rolling hills and pleasant airs of the Wormsley Estate in deepest home counties territory. Nor are the bleached bones of Britten’s bleak if ultimately transformative operatic...

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Stray Dogs

Whatever you make of Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs (Jiao you), it’ll likely have you looking at your watch. If you’re hypnotized by its almost narrative-free, stretched naturalism – stretched so far as to become effectively...

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Monteverdi Vespers, The Sixteen, Christophers, Winchester Cathedral

It has to be the ultimate cornucopia of choral and early-instrumental invention. So long as the musicians immerse themselves in the beauty of a strange adventure, it doesn’t matter where you hear Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610: however selective the...

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