mon 06/07/2020

France

Fidelio, Royal Opera review - fitfully vivid singing in a dramatic void

Emblazoned on a drop-curtain in front of a mirror-image of the auditorium, the three great tenets of the French revolution seem to be mocking us right at the start, above all the second of them: equality, really, given the make-up of the Royal Opera...

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire review – love unshackled

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is windblown, spare, taut, and sensual – a haunted seaside romantic drama, set in the 18th century, that makes most recent films and series dressed in period costumes seem like party-line effusions of empty style and...

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La Cage aux Folles [The Play], Park Theatre review - half-cock farce

Not the musical then, worst luck. How timely it would have been to mark Jerry Herman's passing with a celebration of a great achievement. Just how brilliantly the pathos and panache of his score lift Jean Poiret's long-running 1970s farce about a...

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Les Misérables, Sondheim Theatre review - join in our crusade

Do you hear the people sing? In recent months, you're more likely to have heard news stories about the longest running West End musical than the actual music. Stephen Sondheim – who celebrates his 90th birthday in March – missed the gala opening of...

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Nathalie Léger: Exposition review – mysteries, rumours and facts

Nathalie Léger’s superbly original Exposition is a biographical novel meditating on the nature of biography itself. Its plot – if indeed its 150 pages of intense reflection bordering continuously on stream of consciousness can be called a plot – is...

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Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Agnew, Barbican review – splendid Baroque knees-up

“How many times have you heard the conductor sing?” asked William Christie after the final number, but before the two encores, of Sunday night’s 40th birthday celebration for his ensemble Les Arts Florissants. Well, lovers of old recordings know...

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The Boy Friend, Menier Chocolate Factory review - fun but featherweight

There’s slight (White Christmas, to name but one) and then there’s The Boy Friend, a period musical so unabashedly vaporous that if you sneeze, it might blow away. All credit then to the Menier Chocolate Factory for anchoring Sandy Wilson’s...

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Dora Maar, Tate Modern review - how women disappear

In one of Dora Maar’s best known images, a fashion photograph from 1935 (pictured below), a woman wearing a backless, sparkly evening gown appears to be making her way backstage through a proscenium’s drapes. The star of the show exits the limelight...

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Julian Barnes: The Man in the Red Coat review – all that glitters…

“Chauvinism is the worst form of ignorance” is the maxim of Dr Pozzi, the hero of Julian Barnes’s latest book, The Man in the Red Coat. This historical biography follows the life of a renowned gynaecologist during the Parisian Belle Époque, the “...

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Chantal Ackerman: My Mother Laughs review - too umbilically linked?

My Mother Laughs was first published in Chantal Ackerman’s native French in 2013. This year it has been translated into English for the first time, twice. Silver Press’ elegant version is framed by a foreword by the poet, Eileen Myles (who also has...

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By the Grace of God review - a dark, meticulous drama from François Ozon

This is a departure in every sense for François Ozon. The prolific French director has established himself as a master of ludic style in past dramas played out by predominantly female casts, the exceptions, among them his sad black-and-white period...

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theartsdesk Radio Show 25 - with bohemian chanteuse Anne Pigalle

This edition of Peter Culshaw’s periodic global music radio show features guest special guest Anne Pigalle. A flâneuse and doyenne of the urban demi-monde, she came to our attention recording for ZTT Records in the 1980s and ran Soho...

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