sun 08/12/2019

1940s

Peter Grimes, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Gardner, RFH review - more instrumental than vocal intensity

"Sadler's Wells! Any more for Peter Grimes, the sadistic fisherman?," a cheery bus conductor is alleged to have called out around the time of this towering masterpiece's premiere in 1945. The side of a "Grimes bus" today would probably proclaim over...

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Wallfisch, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - Weinberg UK premiere

Everyone’s doing Weinberg now, or so it seems. The Polish-born composer who became a close friend of Shostakovich was born 100 years ago, and there’s plenty of his music to go round. Raphael Wallfisch gave the UK premiere of his Cello...

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The Irishman review - mobster masterclass

Much has been made of Martin Scorsese’s recent dismissal of Marvel films. Putting that debate aside, there’s no escaping the fact that in an era of rapid-fire sequels, with the same ensembles trotted out year after year, there’s far more ...

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Werewolf review - post-Holocaust horrors

There used to be this myth that we knew nothing about the concentration camps until the victors opened their gates in 1945, and that the survivors were then nursed back to health. The Russians put out newsreels filmed weeks later of nurses tending...

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Balsom, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - made in Brum

There’s nothing like practising what you preach. “I say straight out that I regard all so-called 12-tone music, so-called serial music, so-called electronic music and so-called avant-garde music as utter rubbish, and indeed a deliberate conning of...

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CD: Renée Zellweger - Judy

Renée Zellweger already has strong musical cinema form, Her role as Roxie Hart in Chicago garnered her second Oscar nomination. However, playing and singing Judy Garland is a whole different ball game. The film Judy takes a late-Sixties run of...

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Evita, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - a diva dictator for 2019

Following a triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ Superstar, now playing at the Barbican, the Park works its magic on another of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Seventies rock operas. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-down, super-sleek, contemporary take...

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War and Peace, Welsh National Opera, Royal Opera House - bold epic weakened by loosely-directed characterisations

On the UK's biggest day of shame, it was some relief to tap in to the fury of the Russian people at a much greater national degradation (Napoleon's invasion in 1812, Hitler's in 1941). Though it works even better at the end of the first, "Natasha...

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Harold Pinter Theatre review - smart stagecraft, skimpy script

Better than the 2001 film but likely to disappoint devotees of the book, Captain Corelli's Mandolin onstage works best as a reminder of the identifiable stagecraft of its director, Melly Still. Playful, non-literal, and often endearingly physical (...

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Svetlana Alexievich: Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories review - anything but childish

Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses: Unchildlike Stories is a collection of oral testimonies conducted between 1978-2004 with Soviet and post-Soviet citizens who were children during the second world war. They recount strange and terrible...

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While the Sun Shines, Orange Tree Theatre review - frothy, yes, up to a point

Terence Rattigan completists, and count myself among them, will leap at the chance to see a rare production courtesy the Orange Tree Theatre of While the Sun Shines, a 1943 monster hit for this great English writer that has languished in semi-...

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Vasily Grossman: Stalingrad review - a Soviet national epic

Stalingrad is the companion piece to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which on its (re)publication in English a decade ago was acclaimed as one of the greatest Russian (and not only Russian) novels of the 20th century. For its sense of the sheer...

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