sat 06/02/2016

Ismene Brown

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Bio
Ismene designed and launched the original version of The Arts Desk, after spending 15 years as the Daily Telegraph's dance critic. She was TAD's Site Coordinator and director for two years, and dance editor for four. She is an MA in Russian Studies and is presently Spectator dance critic. A trained musician, she also writes for TAD on classical music and theatre.

Articles by Ismene Brown

Yolanda Sonnabend: designer of MacMillan's 'neurotic' ballets

Ever since Diaghilev’s day the relationship of dance movement to its visual design has been a lively, sometimes combative affair. Sometimes people leave whistling the set, saying shame about the...

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Henry V, RSC, Barbican Theatre

Pro patria mori. Now there’s the test for Henry V - perform it on Remembrance Day. The “band of brothers” shtick relies on an idea of patriotism from an age when there was no need to define something...

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Tchaikovsky Competition Winners Tour

For a few very lucky competition winners there is a shopping trip where they are paraded around the world. A terrific opportunity, though a horrible experience, probably. Most competition winners...

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Ex Kirov ballet chief takes not-so-Bolshoi job

The great Bolshoi ballerina Ludmila Semenyaka once told me that you need the claws of a tiger and the hide of a rhinoceros to survive at Moscow's iconic theatre. Her bitter words came to mind...

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An Open Book: Michael Hulls

The occupation “lighting designer” is too workaday to describe Michael Hulls. The artistry with which he casts illumination or shadow on some of the great dancers of our time make the idea of...

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Bolshoi Ballet acid attack leader loses his job

Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet artistic director whose sight was maimed two years ago by an acid attack organized by a disgruntled dancer, will lose his job when his contract expires next spring....

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Richard II, Shakespeare's Globe

The earthy contact with groundlings that Shakespeare’s Globe offers in its stagings makes a comical but telling context for Richard II, a play largely about political point-scoring between kings. The...

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Q&A Special: Pianist Lucas Debargue

Last week the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow was rung down with a sigh of relief for the home team, with once again a Russian pianist in possession of the gold medal, Dmitry...

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King Lear, Northern Broadsides, Touring

Jonathan Miller’s new King Lear is rustic to its core, spoken in broad Northern accents, and the whole production could be packed onto a travelling theatre’s wagon and taken around Britain pulled by...

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Maya Plisetskaya, 1925-2015

The great Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, renowned for her deathless Dying Swan and a performing career that lasted more than 60 years, died suddenly of a heart attack at home in Munich at the...

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Three Men in a Boat, The Original Theatre Company, Touring

It’s a hostage to fortune really to create a play on one of the funniest books ever written, and a Victorian one at that. Still, Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat is regularly mined for stage and...

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Leonskaja/ Pires, Dumay, Meneses, Wigmore Hall

What a day for piano-lovers and Beethoven-lovers – Elisabeth Leonskaja for lunch, Maria João Pires for supper. Beethoven from both, stupendous playing from both, all in all generating a general...

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Single Spies, Rose Theatre, Kingston

Alan Bennett’s 80th birthday last May deserves celebrating not just as a point of respect for a formidable playwright but with awe at his continuing liveliness. More than 40 years after 40 Years On,...

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King Charles III, Wyndham's Theatre

Prince Charles’s “black spider letters” - his attempts to influence or change government policy - are real, as is the government’s long collusion with Clarence House to keep them from the public,...

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Firebird/ Marguerite and Armand/ Concerto DSCH, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House

This was the most eagerly anticipated programme of the Mariinsky visit - something old, something borrowed and something new. The old, that colourful fairytale of Stravinsky’s lush, melodious youth,...

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Apollo/ A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House

The ballerina claque wars that generally accompany visits here by the Mariinsky Ballet are raging particularly feverishly this year, but it all falls silent when Uliana Lopatkina makes one of her...

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Battlefield, Young Vic Theatre

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Early works from a French 20th century giant, Russian piano concertos and A...

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The Winter's Tale, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Shakespeare's tale is told quietly here but with tremendous charm and...

The Devil Inside, Peacock Theatre

Compelling new Faustian-pact opera is small in scale but big on ideas

Rabbit Hole, Hampstead Theatre

David Lindsay-Abaire's examination of grief is smart and sincere, but...