sat 01/10/2022

17th century

Purcell's Playhouse, Bevan, Barokksolistene, Eike, Purcell Room review - kaleidoscopic delights

“What about the communication with the audience?” asked violinist and impresario Bjarte Eike in his First Person piece for theartsdesk. “How can a 'normal' concert be turned into a special event?” Explaining how is one thing – but doing it to dazzle...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Abel Selaocoe

South-African cellist Abel Selaocoe is about to begin his third major concert in London in under a year. As the support artist for kora player Ballake Sissoko and cellist Vincent Segal at the Roundhouse in January, he received a lengthy ovation for...

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Treason The Musical In Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane review - plenty of musical gunpowder but not enough plot

A semi-staged concert performance of a musical is a little like a third trimester ultrasound scan. You should see the anatomy in development, the shape of what is to come and, most importantly, discern a heart beating at its centre. But you can’t...

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Spell Book/La liberazione di Ruggiero dell'isola di Alcina, Longborough Festival review - the pitfalls of diversity

Diversity is a great idea, but it can sometimes contain the seeds of its own downfall. Positive discrimination is an obvious, frequent example. But there are two different cases in Longborough’s double bill of Freya Waley-Cohen’s Spell Book and...

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theartsdesk at the Three Choirs Festival - Purcell, Gabriel Jackson and Duruflé

King Arthur, as every schoolgirl knows, never actually existed, so it made perfect sense that the Gabrieli Consort’s Worcester Cathedral performance of Purcell’s semi-opera about the mythical British king and his battles with the Saxon incomers made...

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Hamlet, Windsor Theatre Royal review - the age is out of joint

So it wasn’t Cinderella but Hamlet who was first out of the post-lockdown starting blocks – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much trumpeted musical premiere being foiled by a ping at the weekend. Instead the historic first curtain-up was 20 miles up the River...

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Il ritorno d'Ulisse, Longborough Festival Opera review - gods and grunge on the long journey home

They showed Clash of the Titans the other night – not the wretched remake, but the original 1981 sword-and-sandals cheesefest, complete with Ray Harryhausen’s Kraken, Ursula Andress as Aphrodite and that rip-roaring Laurence Rosenthal score. And, of...

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Dido’s Ghost, Buxton International Festival review - the Queen of Carthage returns

“Remember me!”, sang Dido to a departed Aeneas in the heart-rending aria-chaconne announcing her demise that dominates the ending of Purcell’s baroque opera. But what if he did … if in fact he never could forget her? That’s the premise behind...

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1971, Apple TV+ review - rock'n'roll's golden year?

Back in the mid-Eighties, BBC television started broadcasting The Rock'n' Roll Years, one of the first rock music retrospectives. Each half-hour episode focused on a year, with news reports and music intermixed to give a revealing look at the...

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DVD: Fanny Lye Deliver'd

There’s something very familiar and also a little disappointing about Fanny Lye Deliver’d. Set in the years following the English Civil War, the story follows a young couple who enter the home of a stern, God-fearing family, disrupting their lives...

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The Old Guard review - serious silliness

It’s hard to take The Old Guard seriously — it’s an action film about thousand-year-old immortal warriors. Pulpy flashbacks and fake blood abounds. But The Old Guard doesn’t need to be serious or even memorable: it’s a fun, feel-good film, a rare...

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Fanny Lye Deliver’d review - blistering English civil war western

Ten years in the making, Thomas Clay’s third feature, starring Charles Dance and Maxine Peake, is a remarkable and potent example of genre-splicing British independent filmmaking. The story opens in 1657. Cromwell is in power and, on a small,...

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