mon 23/05/2022

19th century

Dandy, BBC Philharmonic, New, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - energy and fierce attention

Saturday’s concert by the BBC Philharmonic was in large measure about the Mahlers – Gustav and Alma. The former’s First Symphony formed the substantial second part of the programme: Frau Mahler was the inspiration of the piece that opened the...

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Osborne, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an eclectic mix

The Mancunian tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams – a symphonic cycle shared by the BBC Philharmonic and Hallé – reached its conclusion with the Eighth Symphony last night. But, unlike most concerts in the RVW150 sequence, in this one (the final...

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Zorro the Musical, Charing Cross Theatre review - struggling to find the right tone

Zorro (what a name!) is back, swashing and buckling his way into the West End, 13 years after he left and now not the only one wearing a mask. He’s also an entertainer turned political leader, inspiring his people to resist an evil martinet. Well,...

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Oberto, Chelsea Opera Group, Cadogan Hall review - Verdi’s first opera bounces into life

There are quite a few dull patches in the early Verdi operas that aren’t Nabucco, Ernani or Macbeth, so I wasn’t expecting so very much from the 26-year-old composer’s first shot. That was without taking into account how spiritedly the ad hoc...

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The Gondoliers, Scottish Opera, Hackney Empire review - G&S con amore

Having sung the Gondoliers’ Duet with an Iranian tenor who’d been a big pop star in his native land, I know that internationalism hit performances of the Savoy operas some time ago (this superb but all-white ensemble admittedly doesn't follow the...

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Bridgerton, Season 2, Netflix review - power politics and love triangles as Regency fantasy returns

The first series of Bridgerton (Netflix) became a ratings-blasting sensation because of the way it thrust a boldly multiracial cast into the midst of a Regency costume drama, and because of the camera-hogging presence of Regé-Jean Page as the...

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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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Hough, BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - Beethoven for today

There was something extraordinarily powerful and moving about Saturday’s Beethoven commemoration concert by the BBC Philharmonic and its chief conductor, Omer Meir Wellber.Originally planned for 2020 but of course postponed, its second part...

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Rigoletto, Royal Opera review - second time lucky

Two Royal Opera staples, Verdi's La traviata and Puccini’s Tosca, now come round with too much frequency for critical coverage. It looks like Director of Opera Oliver Mears’ Rigoletto will do the same. Yet the production’s September 2021 debut was...

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Wuthering Heights, National Theatre review - too much heat, not enough light

“If you want romance,” the cast of Emma Rice’s new version of Wuthering Heights say in unison just after the interval, “go to Cornwall.” They’re using the modern definition of romance, of course – Emily Brontë’s novel is full of the original meaning...

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The Tiger Lillies' Christmas Carol: A Victorian Gutter, Southbank Centre review - cult band get inside Scrooge's head

Charles Dickens and Martyn Jacques is a marriage made in heaven (well, hell I suppose): the Victorian novelist touring the rookeries of Clerkenwell the better to fire his imagination and, 150 years or so later, the post-punk maestro mining London's...

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Kehinde Wiley, National Gallery review - more than meets the eye

American artist Kehinde Wiley may be best known for his photo-realist portrait of Barack Obama, but painting powerful black men is not the norm. More often he elevates people met on the street in Brooklyn, Dalston or Dakar to positions of pseudo...

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