sun 27/05/2018

21st century

Lessons in Love and Violence, Royal Opera review - savage elegance never quite glows red-hot

A rope is mercy; a razor-blade to the throat, a kiss; a red-hot poker… But, of course, we never get anything so literal as the poker in George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s elegant, insinuating retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II. The title...

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Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel, Barbican review - brilliant if overwhelming showcase

Insistence was the name of the LA Phil's first game in its short but ambitious three-day Barbican residency - insistence honed to a perfect sheen and focus, but wearing, for this listener at least, some way in to the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony...

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Dickson, SCO, Swensen, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh review - world premiere of a bold new work

It’s as intricate as it is concise. The depth to the architecture of James MacMillan’s Saxophone Concerto – which was given its world premiere this week by saxophonist Amy Dickson and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – is quite astounding, and all the...

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Boy George and Culture Club: From Karma to Calamity, BBC Four

The title signalled what was coming so clearly, it may as well have been called When Bands End Badly: the two camps, the arguments and sniping and the eventual collapse of Culture Club’s US and UK tour to promote an album of new material. It’s...

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Michael Rakowitz: The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, Fourth Plinth review - London's new guardian

Fifteen years ago on a cold grey Saturday in mid-February, Trafalgar Square was filled with people marching to Hyde Park in opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. A million people gathered in London. Three times that number turned out in Rome...

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McMafia, Series finale, BBC One review - the last bite is the cruellest

McMafia has taught us to recognise one thing – you might call it the “Norton stride”. As the charismatic Alex Godman, James Norton has been advancing, confidently at screen centre, towards one challenge after another, and they have been coming (...

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Hits, Hype and Hustle: An Insider's Guide to the Music Business, BBC Four review - how gigs got big

The “insider’s guide to the music business” tag attached to Hits, Hype and Hustle: An Insider's Guide to the Music Business (BBC Four) dangles the carrot of all kinds of clandestine scams being exposed, such as extortionate recording contracts,...

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McMafia, BBC One review - James Norton looks promising in a murky le Carré world

It’s not the first time that James Norton has kicked off BBC One’s New Year primetime celebrations in Russian style. Two years ago, he was costumed up as the courageous Prince Andrei, in illustrious ensemble company for Andrew Davies and Tom Harper’...

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Jaron Lanier: Dawn of the New Everything review - pioneer of virtual reality tells his story

Jaron Lanier has quite a story to tell. From a teenage flute-playing goat-herd in New Mexico to an “intense dreamer”, and a maths student capable of arguing, about films for example, with “supremacist. Borgesian flair”, then onwards and upwards,...

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From Life, Royal Academy review - perplexingly aimless

Dedicated to a foundation stone of western artistic training, this exhibition attempts a celebratory note as the Royal Academy approaches its 250th anniversary. But if the printed guide handed to visitors offers a detailed overview of working from...

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The Farthest: Voyager's Interstellar Journey, BBC Four review - awe-inspiring and life-affirming space odyssey

Long before Barack Obama spoke about the audacity of hope, the Voyager mission left the Earth driven by something else: the audacity of curiosity. What do the outer planets look like? What are they comprised of? And what’s beyond that?Storyville:...

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Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival review - new generation throws down the gauntlet

Reading the line-up for Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival can be a bit of a //+DiGit<ijjjjjjjjjjjjj.ggiiigggggH1-RMXn4000// experience (and no, I haven’t invented those). There are flashing light warnings. Ear defenders are routinely...

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