sat 21/07/2018

1940s

Kiss Me, Kate, Opera North, London Coliseum review - Cole Porter delivered in true company style

First palpable hit of the evening: a full orchestra in the pit under hyper-alert Opera North stalwart James Holmes, saxophones deliciously rampant. Second hit: they've got the miking of the voices right (very rare in West End shows). Third: the...

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Blu-ray: Force of Evil

Force of Evil is much more than a stunning film noir classic: it’s first and foremost a film about money and power and their tragic power of attraction. Set in the world of the numbers racket in New York, where the big combinations, created by...

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Capriccio, Garsington Opera review - a classy evening with words and music

Like the comedies of Mozart – the genius the artistic milieu depicted in Capriccio seems to be waiting for, if its original 1770s setting is observed – the more conversational operas of Richard Strauss depend far more than one often realises on...

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Life and Fate / Uncle Vanya, Maly Drama Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - the greatest ensemble?

Towards the end of the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg's Life and Fate, a long scene in director Lev Dodin's daring if necessarily selective adaptation of Vasily Grossman's epic novel brings many of the actors together after a sequence of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: They Came to a City

Ealing Studios veteran Basil Dearden may have directed it, but 1944’s They Came to a City is mostly a JB Priestley film, an engaging blend of the mundane and the metaphysical. The work’s stage origins are clear; apart from the newly-written prologue...

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Wang, RSNO, Oundjian, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - percussion sets Shostakovich's 'Leningrad' ablaze

Featuring two Russian composers, the two halves of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s programme could hardly have been more different. In the first, pianist Xiayin Wang (pictured below) joined the RSNO for Scriabin’s florid, rarely-heard...

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Martin Gayford: Modernists & Mavericks review - people, places and paint

Back in the early Sixties Lucian Freud was living in Clarendon Crescent, a condemned row of houses in Paddington which were gradually being demolished around him. The neighbourhood was uncompromisingly working class and to his glee his neighbours...

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Haveron, BBC Philharmonic, Wilson, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - spirit of the 1940s

John Wilson has built a reputation as a conductor which marks him out as a musicians’ musician. He doesn’t present himself with any pomposity, even wearing a neat black tie and lounge jacket on this occasion, while the male musicians around him were...

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Agnès Poirier: Left Bank review - Paris in war and peace

There are too many awestruck cultural histories of Paris to even begin to count. The Anglophone world has always been justly dazzled by its own cohorts of Paris-based writers and artists, as well as by the seemingly effortless superiority of...

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Emil Nolde: Colour Is Life, National Gallery of Ireland review - boats, dancers, flowers

Colours had meanings for Emil Nolde. “Yellow can depict happiness and also pain. Red can mean fire, blood or roses; blue can mean silver, the sky or a storm.” As the son of a German-Frisian father and a Schleswig-Dane mother, Nolde was raised in a...

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DVD: The King's Choice

It’s fascinating to compare this Norwegian film, which despite being Oscar-nominated (it made the Best Foreign Film shortlist of nine, but not the final five) has slipped out without a cinema release in the UK, with Darkest Hour. Set over a crucial...

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Feng, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - pulling it out of the hat

Say what you like about Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s partnership with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – and plenty has already been written – but sometimes the facts speak for themselves. At the end of this midweek matinee concert, an...

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