sun 05/04/2020

19th century

DVD/Blu Ray: The Elephant Man

David Lynch’s second feature, his only period movie, is as good as anything else he has ever done, building on the claustrophobia of his first, Eraserhead (1977)  The story of Joseph Merrick, born in Victorian times with the most terrible...

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The English Game, Netflix review - it's the toffs versus the workers in this version of sporting history

Julian Fellowes admits he knows little about football and has always hated sport in general, but this hasn’t prevented him from writing a TV series (for Netflix) about football’s 19th century origins. While his other new series, ITV’s Belgravia,...

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Director Marjane Satrapi: ‘The real question is do you like everyone? No? So, why should everyone like you?’

Marjane Satrapi, the Iranian-born French filmmaker, has a reputation that precedes her. Her upbringing was the subject of the acclaimed films Persepolis (2007) and Chicken With Plums (2011). Persepolis won the Cannes Jury Prize, two César awards and...

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Belgravia, ITV review - when the toffs and the nouveaux riches collided

The prolific Lord Fellowes returns with this six-part adaptation of his own novel (for ITV), a niftily-wrought yarn (originally issued in online instalments) about the old aristocracy and the rise of new money in the early 19th Century. Some are...

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Anderszewski, CBSO, Wellber, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - grandeur in restraint

No orchestra wants its conductor to cancel in the week of a concert. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s illness was announced only on Monday, but even in ideal conditions, if you needed to find a last minute replacement maestro for a programme of Bartók and...

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BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - making music magic

Omer Meir Wellber, who once used to do magic with music for children, pulled a whole set of rabbits out of the hat in his reading of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony on Saturday. Others may make the work's rhythms and melodies alluring through the sheer...

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SCO, Emelyanychev, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - Beethoven at too insistent a lick

Fast is fine in Beethoven, so long as you find breathing-spaces, expressive lines and crisp articulation within it. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's febrile new chief conductor, Maxim Emelyanychev, started the "Pastoral" Symphony last night with a...

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Fidelio, Royal Opera review - fitfully vivid singing in a dramatic void

Emblazoned on a drop-curtain in front of a mirror-image of the auditorium, the three great tenets of the French revolution seem to be mocking us right at the start, above all the second of them: equality, really, given the make-up of the Royal Opera...

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True History of the Kelly Gang review - anarchy in Oz

“Nothing you’re about to see is true,” this adaptation of Peter Carey’s novel about Australia’s iron-clad Victorian outlaw Ned Kelly declares. Justin Kurzel’s wild investigation of the Kelly myth, Australian manhood and nationhood carves out its own...

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Hallé, Elder, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, review - fiery Beethoven tribute

Honouring Beethoven in Manchester is a united enterprise, at least between the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic, two symphony orchestras that have worked out a series of Beethoven specials between them. Last night’s Hallé concert even had two conductors...

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The Call of the Wild review - how big-hearted Buck became leader of the pack

Jack London’s original novel was a brutal and Darwinian account of a dog's life in the Klondike during the gold rush at the end of the 19th century. Chris Sanders’s film, on the other hand, with a screenplay by Michael Green, is a family-friendly...

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Luisa Miller, English National Opera review - Verdi in translation makes a stylish comeback

Those who booed the production team last night - there was nothing but generous cheering for singers, conductor and orchestra - might reflect that this was at least regietheater, that singular brand of not-all-bad director's opera in Germany, with...

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