fri 28/08/2015

David Benedict

David Benedict

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Articles by David Benedict

Prom 43: BBCSO, Vänskä

Nearly 10 years ago to the day, an almost unknown 24-year-old Venezuelan conductor came a cropper when valiantly stepping in at short notice to conduct Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony at the Proms. (His...

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Some Like It Hot

In what is undoubtedly one of the earlier recorded examples of the single entendre, the original ad campaign for Some Like It Hot yelled “Marilyn Monroe and her Bosom Companions”. Well, the posters...

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'Gimme a vodka and a floorplan': Elaine Stritch remembered

My (very) small haul of autographs collected as a schoolboy ran the gamut from Peter Pears to Linda McCartney but even back then I knew the classiest signature I bagged was that of Elaine Stritch....

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Peter Grimes, English National Opera

“Mind that door.” With the hurricane howling outside it’s no wonder the locals gathered in Auntie’s pub are yelling... but there is no door. Instead, a stage-wide sheet of corrugated iron rears up to...

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The Musketeers, BBC One

It’s costume drama meets adventure story, it’s got smouldering manhood and heaving-bosomed women with sex, swordfights, politicking and even beautifully lit Prague doubling for 17th-century Paris,...

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Putting It Together, St James Theatre

“God,” wrote Stephen Sondheim, “is in the details.” Of course, he didn’t actually coin the phrase but throughout his published collections of lyrics he cites it as one of his three guiding principles...

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Sonia Prina, Wigmore Hall

The great Marilyn Horne used to joke that she was going to release an album entitled “Chestnuts for Chest Nuts”. She never did, but that leaves the door wide open for Sonia Prina whose dark,...

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Agatha Christie's Marple: Endless Night, ITV

“Her most devastating surprise ever.” Thus spake The Guardian, a quote happily slapped across the cover of the first paperback edition of Agatha Christie’s 1967 thriller Endless Night. While I wouldn...

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BBC Singers, St James's Baroque, Hill, Temple Church

There’s a reason why many people think Handel and, particularly his Messiah, is dull. Relatively easy to play, his music is incredibly difficult to perform well. Take this Temple Winter Festival...

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Candide, Menier Chocolate Factory

How do you solve a problem like...no, not Maria, Candide? Musicals are loved for their scores – and Leonard Bernstein’s one for this really is a cracker – but they’re held together by their books, i....

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Ghosts, Almeida Theatre

In a moment of scalding intensity at the climax of Ghosts, terrified Oswald sees the sun. Throughout the rest of Ibsen’s celebrated drama about the sins of the past, light is fairly absent. Merely...

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Sound of Cinema: The Music that Made the Movies, BBC Four

BBC Four’s new series Sound of Cinema: The Music that Made the Movies is shocking. The overwhelming majority of arts-based TV consists of programmes consigning specialist knowledge/presenters to the...

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Rhapsody! How to programme a Hollywood Prom

Fingers on buzzers: which piece of music at this year’s Proms boasts a percussion section including glockenspiel, xylophone, five pitches of cowbells, car horn, taxi horn, anvils, revolving door...

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Barbra Streisand, O2 Arena

It opened with a standing ovation. And in a place the size of the 02 – the venue put on this earth to make Luton airport feel better – that’s impressive. It was that kind of evening: not so much...

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La donna del lago, Royal Opera

I mean, really, what is the point of Rossini? That’s actually not as stupid as it sounds. No-one has ever mistaken any of his operas for taut music-drama, and even the best of them are peculiarly...

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Children of the Sun, National Theatre

They’re back, and this time it’s Gorky. Dream team director Howard Davies, translator Andrew Upton, designer Bunny Christie and lighting designer Neil Austin have repeatedly attached tragicomic jump-...

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