mon 23/04/2018

Baroque

Amy Sackville: Painter to the King review - portrait of the artist in shadow and light

Inevitably, the story begins and (almost) ends with Las Meninas. Inspired by the art and life of Diego Velázquez, Amy Sackville tops and tails her third novel with his endlessly enigmatic group portrait from 1656. It shows the Spanish royal...

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theartsdesk in Kraków - Easter music with a British focus

Held annually every Holy Week, Kraków’s Misteria Paschalia is one of the continent’s most vibrant early music festivals. With an increasing focus on international collaborations, the 2018 edition welcomed Edinburgh’s Dunedin Consort as artists in...

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Vivaldi's The Four Seasons: A Reimagining, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - a gentle exploration of life, love and death

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: A Reimagining – it’s not a title that trips off the tongue. Nor one, frankly, that inspires much excitement, with its clunky functionality and on-trend buzzword. But set that aside and buy a ticket immediately, because...

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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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Orlando, La Nuova Musica, SJSS review - Handel painted in primary colours

The advertising for La Nuova Musica’s Orlando billed it as “Handel’s most psychologically complex opera”. Whether or not you agree (and there are plenty of heavyweight rivals – Alcina, Giulio Cesare and Agrippina just for starters) there’s also the...

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Kožená, LSO, Rattle, Barbican Hall review – springing surprises from Schubert and Rameau

Cheers and huzzahs greeted the arrival of Sir Simon Rattle on the Barbican stage last night before the London Symphony Orchestra had even played a note. The 10-day festivities to open his tenure as principal conductor evidently worked a treat. The...

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Orpheus Caledonius, Brighton Early Music Festival review - a thrilling meeting of musical clans

In 1725 a collection of some 50 songs was published by one William Thomson. You might not know his name, or even the names of the songs, but given the first bar of most I’m betting you could hum them from beginning to end. The work? Orpheus...

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Prom 73 review: The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book 1, Schiff - glorious solo voyage across Bach's universe

Amazingly, last night Sir András Schiff scored a Proms first with his performance of Book One of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. Never before has even half of the sublime and seminal “48” taken the Royal Albert Hall stage in unmutilated form...

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OAE, Christie, St John's Smith Square

William Christie chose a suitably light and breezy programme for this warm summer evening’s concert at St. John’s Smith Square. The concert was titled “Bach goes to Paris”, with works chosen to highlight the connections between the German master and...

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Radamisto, Guildhall School, Milton Court

''…after various Accidents, it comes to pass that he recovers both Her and his Kingdom”. Handel's Radamisto may be a tale of warring kingdoms, noble self-sacrifice and mature, wedded love, but it’s also a fairly daft piece of dramatic belief-...

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Hipermestra / La Traviata, Glyndebourne

 A Saudi princess in her white wedding dress digs her own grave as men pile up stones to hurl at her head — next, an Isis fighter is stabbing a knife at her neck to decapitate her. Ah, the fate of the heroine of the average baroque ...

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Ariodante, The English Concert, Bicket, Barbican

To hear The English Concert playing Handel is to arrive in technicolour Oz after a lifetime of black and white baroque in Kansas. We’re not short on period bands in the UK, but few bring this music into anything like the kind of focus that Harry...

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