fri 21/09/2018

19th century

Isouard's Cendrillon, Bampton Classical Opera review - stepsisters shine in fairy-tale bagatelle

Cinderella as opera in French: of late, the palm has always gone to Massenet's adorable (as in a-dor-Ah-bler) confection, and it should again soon when Glyndebourne offers a worthy home to the master's magic touch. The Cendrillon of Maltese-born...

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Prom 71, DiDonato, Tamestit, ORR, Gardiner review - concert Berlioz as bracing theatre

How do you make your mark in a crucial last week after the Olympian spectaculars of Kirill Petrenko's Proms with the Berlin Philharmonic? Well, for a start, you stay true to recent principles by getting as many of your period-instrument Orchestre...

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DVD: Mary Shelley

This should have been the perfect match. Saudi-born director Haifaa al-Mansour earned real acclaim for her 2012 debut film Wadjda, whose 12-year-old central character had to break the conventions of a restrictive society to realise her dream –...

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Vanity Fair, ITV review - seductions of social climbing

Emcee Michael Palin, as William Makepeace Thackeray himself, introduces us to the show: “Yes, this is Vanity Fair; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though very noisy.” All his major characters – or “puppets” – are riding a fairground...

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The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre review - Sophie Thompson triumphantly tackles the handbag challenge

Any actor playing Lady Bracknell must dread the moment when she (or, indeed, he) has to deliver that unforgettable line about a significant piece of hand luggage. Since Edith Evans's wavering, vibrato, multi-syllable version of "a handbag?",...

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Pagliacci, Scottish Opera review - roll up, roll up for opera like never before!

Yes it’s opera, but not as you know it. The circus-tent style structure, pitched on the grounds of Seedhill sports complex and dubbed "Paisley Opera House", was home this weekend to Scottish Opera's incredible, immersive production of Leoncavallo’s...

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theartsdesk in Riga - 43,290 Latvians sing and dance for their country

"They incessantly break down, destroy and fragment the mistrust that exists among people," wrote a Latvian journalist of a folklore group during the start of the Baltic countries' "singing revolution" against Soviet rule in 1988. This is the recent...

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L'Ange de Nisida / JPYAP Summer Programme, Royal Opera - buoyant touch in Donizetti bagatelle

Two rules should help the non-Donizettian: avoid all stagings of the prolific Bergamasco's nearly 70 operas other than the comedies; and seek the guarantee of top bel canto stylists. Conductor Mark Elder and soprano Joyce El-Khoury certainly fit...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Piano

The first words we hear in The Piano are the thoughts of Holly Hunter’s Ada, and they set up the film’s premise perfectly: “I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why… not even me. My father says it is a dark talent …Today he...

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The King and I, London Palladium review - classic musical reborn with modern sensibilities

Shall we dodge? (One, two, three) No, the brilliance of Bartlett Sher’s Tony-winning Lincoln Center revival – first on Broadway in 2015, now gracing the West End, with its original leads – is that it faces the problematic elements of Rodgers...

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Manchester Collective, Chetham's, Manchester review - flair and variety

Manchester Collective is a new and enterprising group of musicians determined not just to create performances of high quality but to offer a new way in which the performances themselves are done. They started from scratch at the end of 2016, and I...

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La Traviata, Longborough Festival review - muddled director, vocal mixed bag

One wearies of quarrelling with opera directors’ concepts. But what’s the alternative? To ignore or acquiesce in crude, approximate reimaginings that, like Daisy Evans's new La Traviata at Longborough, stuff a work any old how into some snappy,...

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