sun 27/05/2018

Barbican

Elizabeth, Barbican review - royal romance under scrutiny

Everyone knows that Elizabeth I was a monarch of deep intelligence and sharp wit. Fewer know how good she was at the galliard. This was a virile, proud, demandingly athletic dance, usually performed by the men at courtly gatherings, and the fact...

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Mary Chapin Carpenter, Barbican, review - a three-decade retrospective

Mary Chapin Carpenter lives these days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she sits at the kitchen table in her farmhouse and writes songs. “I have a couple of cats and dogs and I’m the hermit who lives down the road,” she explained to a...

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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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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - symphonies of death and new life

In the 27 years since he first conducted Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, Sir Simon Rattle has steadily integrated its moodswings and high contrasts into a reading of a piece which now feels more than ever like the work of a man engaged in a form of...

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LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - incandescent swansongs by Mahler and Tippett

Why would any conductor resist Mahler's last great symphonic adventure? By which I mean the vast finale of his Tenth Symphony, realised in full by Deryck Cooke, and not the first-movement Adagio, fully scored (unlike most of the rest) by the...

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Coraline, Royal Opera, Barbican review - spooky story, underwhelming score

With the eyes of musical fashion turned relentlessly on the calculating stage works of chilly alchemist George Benjamin, hopes ran high for a brighter spark in a new opera by his contemporary Mark-Anthony Turnage. Would Coraline, a music-drama for...

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Faust, LSO, Gardiner, Barbican review - Schumann as never before

When a great musician pulls out of a concerto appearance, you're usually lucky if a relative unknown creates a replacement sensation. In this case not one but two star pianists withdrew – Maria João Pires, scheduling early retirement, succeeded by...

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Rinaldo, The English Concert, Barbican review - Bicket's band steals the spotlight

It was the work with which Handel conquered London, the Italian opera that finally wooed a suspicious English audience to the charms of Dr Johnson’s “exotic and irrational entertainment”. Three hundred years later, neither Rinaldo nor London’s...

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Hallenberg, LSO, Gardiner, Barbican review - palpitating Schumann and Berlioz

Violins, violas, wind and brass all standing for Schumann: gimmick or gain? As John Eliot Gardiner told the audience with his usual eloquence while chairs were being brought on for the Berlioz in the first half of last night's concert, Mendelssohn...

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Another Kind of Life, Barbican review - intense encounters with marginal lives

“I start out as an outsider, usually photographing other outsiders, and then at some point I step over a line and become an insider,” wrote American photographer Bruce Davidson. “I don’t do detached observation.” A large number of the images in...

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Dialogues des Carmélites, Guildhall School review - calm and humane drama of faith

One question dominates any staging of Dialogues des Carmélites. How will the production team deal with the cruelty and tragedy in the 12th and last scene when all of the nuns, one by one, go through with their vow of martyrdom and calmly proceed to...

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Dead Man Walking, Barbican review - timely and devastating meditation on human violence and forgiveness

You have to wonder why it has taken this long. Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking premiered in San Francisco back in 2000 and has since been performed over 300 times across the world, staged everywhere from Cape Town to Copenhagen. Only now, 18 years on...

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