mon 23/05/2022

1940s

Peter Grimes, Royal Opera review - impressive, not quite devastating

"Why does he have to sentimentalise this piece?", Britten is reported by former Royal Opera director John Tooley to have said of Jon Vickers as Peter Grimes the tormented fisherman, so very different from the composer's life partner and creator of...

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Great Freedom review - love behind bars in Germany

A story of forbidden love, Great Freedom takes place almost entirely in a prison. The film's background is encapsulated in the word “175er/ hundertfünfundsiebziger”, still to be found in German dictionaries and collective memories as a...

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Koranyi, Hallé, Berglund, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - beauty and joy

It’s catching on … for the second consecutive night I heard an orchestra begin by playing, to a standing audience, the Ukrainian national anthem. The previous night it was Opera North’s musicians: this time the Norwegian conductor Tabita Berglund...

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Fisher, BBC Philharmonic, Wigglesworth, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - war-tinged Vaughan Williams

There was no overt reference to the world outside in this concert, and yet the poignancy of its content could hardly have been clearer if it had been planned: two symphonies and a song cycle each touched by the tragedy of war.It was the launch event...

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Hanslip, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - lyricism and challenge

Manchester’s oldest chamber orchestra has been gathering a new audience at the Stoller Hall in Chetham’s School of Music since that auditorium opened, and Sunday afternoon’s programme provided an excellent example of where the Northern Chamber...

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The Rake's Progress, Glyndebourne Tour - a classic revitalized

Tom Rakewell Esquire, the Glyndebourne edition generally known as “the Hockney Rake” though it is very much director John Cox’s too, is 46 years old. The great Bernard Haitink, who conducted the first airing in 1975 at a time when Stravinsky's...

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Van der Heijden, Hallé, New, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - rising to challenges

The youthful New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New and British cellist Laura van der Heijden between them set the Hallé quite a challenge at this concert.The music was all written in the past 75 years or so – by classical measures that’s pretty...

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'The din is loud these days': playwright Cordelia Lynn on her imminent premiere at the Donmar Warehouse

As I write this, we've just had our final day in the rehearsal room and are going into tech onstage next week with my new play, which is also reopening the Donmar not only to live performance but follows major renovations at their home address.It’s...

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Blithe Spirit, Harold Pinter Theatre review - an amusing, if dated, revival of the Coward classic

We’re in an agreeable drawing room with an author, Charles Condomine, who is looking forward to having a bit of fun with a local spiritualist, Madame Arcati, whom he has invited over for an evening séance. But once a conversation with his wife, Ruth...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Mr Klein

Joseph Losey’s career covered a great deal of ground, and several continents. From The Boy with the Green Hair, a noirish sci-fi film from 1948, through to his richly psychological collaborations with Harold Pinter, The Servant (1963), Accident (...

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The Champion of Auschwitz review - Polish movie based on a boxer's memoir

It’s a little hard to tell if this film was really intended for an international release, given that its heart is so set on making Polish movie-goers proud of their countrymen. The Champion of Auschwitz recounts the true story of Tadeusz "Teddy...

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Once Upon A Time In Nazi Occupied Tunisia, Almeida Theatre review - flawed theatre but a great experiment

An ageing Nazi, stuffed into a slightly too tight white linen suit, sits at the opposite end of the dining table to a young Jewish woman. Between them is a dish of chicken stew that we, just moments beforehand, have seen her lace with poison.The...

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