thu 05/08/2021

Germany

Bagdad Café, Old Vic review - sweet but scattershot

A gorgeous song exists in search of a show to match over at Bagdad Café, the 1987 film that gave the world the memorably plaintive "Calling You", which is threaded throughout Emma Rice's stage adaptation of the movie with understandable...

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Album: Härtel Trübsbach - Great Again

When Marie-Theres Härtel plays the viola, she is an astonishing force of nature. If great string-playing should combine the heavenly and the daemonic, the civilised and the raw, hers certainly does.She has a deep family folk heritage from the...

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Die Walküre, Longborough Festival Opera review - heroic defiance of farcical constraints

Whatever might be said about Longborough Festival’s first live opera since 2019, the first and most important thing is to praise the company without reservation for putting on a show of anything like this quality in the face of obstacles of the sort...

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Blu-ray: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Martin Ritt’s 1965 classy screen adaptation of John Le Carré’s bestseller The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is an antidote to the full-colour hi-jinx of the Bond franchise that ruled over the spy movie genre in the 1960s. By the time Paul Dehn, an...

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Christa Ludwig, 1928-2021: a selective tribute

I only saw Christa Ludwig twice live in concert, but those appearances epitomise her incredible dramatic and vocal rage as well as her peerless artistry in everything she did. The first event was Schubert’s Winterreise with pianist Charles Spencer...

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Blu-ray: I Was at Home, But...

The term most often used about Berlin director Angela Schanelec’s filmmaking seems to be “elliptical”, and her latest film, I Was at Home, But..., which won the Best Director award at Berlinale 2019, is no exception. Approaching it is like an...

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Six Minutes to Midnight review - Judi Dench retains her dignity

It can't be easy maintaining dignity when everyone in your vicinity is losing theirs. But that's the position in which the inimitable Judi Dench finds herself in Six Minutes to Midnight, a bewildering movie in which star and co-author, Eddie Izzard...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Mädchen in Uniform

The late Weimar-era film Mädchen in Uniform (1931) was visionary – a delicate Queer love story set in a repressive girls’ boarding school that denounced the Prussian militarist creed as dehumanising. Like The Blue Angel (1930), another German early...

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Der Rosenkavalier, Bavarian State Opera online review - myth-making magic

Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time stalk this haunting dream of a Rosenkavalier. The love games of teenager Octavian and his experienced mistress the Marschallin are sexy and plausible; the comedy of ridiculous Baron Ochs keeps a low profile, but stays...

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Der Freischütz, Bavarian State Opera online review – marksmen as marketeers

Bavarian State Opera has led the way for live performances and associated broadcasts during the pandemic. Their series of weekly “Montagsstück” events have presented innovative chamber operas, specifically for web streaming. Their next goal is full-...

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Blu-ray/DVD : The Tin Drum

Volker Schlöndorff’s brilliant adaptation of Günter Grass’s 1959 novel The Tin Drum hasn’t aged one bit: just as the book and film’s main character Oskar Matzerath decides that it’s better not to grow old, the film’s phenomenal zest feels as fresh...

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Blu-ray: Waxworks (1924)

Stylistically, Waxworks (1924) was the apogee of German Expressionist cinema in that it was the last pure distillation of the form, in which visual distortion, chiaroscuro, exaggerated staccato acting, and nightmarish atmosphere collectively evoked...

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