tue 17/07/2018

19th century

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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theartsdesk in Paris - following in the footsteps of Gounod

It’s a truism that history is written by the victors, but nowhere in classical music is the argument made more persuasively than in the legacy and reputation of Charles Gounod. In a year in which you can hardly move for Bernstein and Debussy-related...

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theartsdesk at Leipzig's Blüthner Piano Factory - a perfect family business

Have you ever wondered why the Steinway grand piano is invariably the instrument of choice in every hall you visit, great or small? Why do the halls in question not offer a choice between two or three pianos of different manufacture, as so many did...

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Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum. The composer made sure in his last opera that when the fantasies, schemes and hopes of...

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Un ballo in maschera, Grange Park Opera review – singing out against the American grain

Stumble across Grange Park Opera’s new brick-clad “Theatre in the Woods”, nestled amid a labyrinth of gardens and orchards next to the rambling Tudor pile of West Horsley Place in Surrey, and on a mild June evening you may feel as if you have fallen...

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Lohengrin, Royal Opera review - swan mystery musically illuminated

It's awfully long for a fairytale in which a mystery prince helps a damsel in distress, and she asks him the question she shouldn't. Myth tends to go deeper, as Wagner did in The Ring of the Nibelung after Lohengrin. Here he captures the magic of...

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Gringytė, Williams, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - living in the moment

How to judge a genius who died at 25? Gerald Larner, in his programme note for this concert by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, suggests that Lili Boulanger’s tragically early death was actually central to her achievement. She knew she...

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Berlin Philharmonic, Rattle, RFH review - everything but inscape

Questions of interpretation apart, Simon Rattle has yet again proved the great connecter, this time in concerts separated by just over a month. Having set his seal on his new, galvanizing partnership with the London Symphony Orchestra by asserting,...

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Karen Cargill, Simon Lepper, Wigmore Hall review - opulence within bounds

Singing satirist Anna Russell placed the French chanson in her category of songs for singers "with no voice but tremendous artistry". Mezzo Karen Cargill has tremendous artistry but also a very great voice indeed, a mysterious gift which makes her...

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