thu 20/09/2018

18th century

Elisabeth Leonskaja, Wigmore Hall review - Mozart and Webern, anyone?

“What is it about Mozart?” wondered the legendary pianist Sviatoslav Richter, pointing out the composer's frightening demands of accuracy and lucidity. Even though many pianists today command technique to spare, a Mozart fear factor tends to keep...

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Prom 63, Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 2, Schiff review - the universe within

It was the C major Prelude and Fugue from this second book of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, not its more familiar counterpart in Book One, which found itself tracked on a gold-plated disc inside Voyager I to reach whatever intelligent life there...

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'I wanted a juke box that plays nothing but flip-sides' - Jeremy Sams on The Enchanted Island

I have many files, in bulging boxes and dusty corners of my computer, of projects that, for whatever reason, never came to fruition. To be honest I’ve forgotten most of them. And I wrongly assumed that The Enchanted Island would be one of those...

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2018 - canaries in front of a Périgord altar

Brits are the folk you expect to encounter the most in the rural-England-on-steroids of the beautiful Dordogne. In my experience they outnumber the French, at least in high summer, not just as visitors and retired homeowners but also as artisans...

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Greed as the keynote: Robert Carsen on the timelessness of 'The Beggar's Opera'

In the time of composer John Gay, greed and self-interest were the main motives for life; and his work The Beggar’s Opera is an open critique on the way that society behaved. The work’s opening number sets the tone, basically saying: “we all abuse...

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Saul, Glyndebourne review - from extravaganza to phantasmagoria

It's swings and roundabouts for Glyndebourne this season. After the worst of one director currently in fashion, Stefan Herheim, in the unhappy mésalliance of the house's Pelléas et Mélisande, only musically gripping, comes the already-known best of...

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Idomeneo, Buxton Festival review - revolution in the head

The audience at the Buxton International Festival has a way of cutting to the essence of a production. “They’ll have a job getting all that cutlery out of the sand” commented one of my neighbours after the end of Act One, where in Stephen...

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The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Grange Festival review - enjoyable if conventional production

Just as the Last Night of the Proms is an end-of-term party with a concert tacked on, The Grange Festival (like other similar venues) offers a massive picnic interspersed with some opera. Unlike the Proms, however, where anyone can get in wearing...

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Bach Weekend, Barbican review - vivid and vibrant celebrations

John Eliot Gardiner was 75 in April, and to celebrate, the Barbican Centre staged a weekend devoted to his favourite composer. Gardiner himself provided the backbone of the event, three concerts of cantatas with his Monteverdi Choir and English...

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Giulio Cesare, Glyndebourne review - no weak link

What a great show, on every level. David McVicar’s Glyndebourne production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare, originally staged in 2005, and in its third revival this year, has a cast without a weak link, and never fails to draw in the audience to the work’...

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Isabelle Huppert reads Marquis de Sade, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - virtue twinned with vice

In an era marked by virtue-signalling, it's perhaps no surprise that Isabelle Huppert – a woman who has always gone against the grain – has opted for a little vice-signalling. Unlike other French screen icons, she is not part of the female...

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Sancho: An Act of Remembrance, Wilton's Music Hall review - pure entertainment

One space, one person, one story, one voice – the monologue is theatre distilled, the purest form of entertainment. On a stage of packing boxes and boards, over the course of just over an hour, Paterson Joseph relays and plays the life of...

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