wed 11/12/2019

Italy

Caroline Moorehead: A House in the Mountains review – the women's war against Fascism

In September 1944, a heavily pregnant Resistance activist in the north of German-occupied Italy was arrested on a visit to Milan. Lisetta Giua, a law student and fiancée of the Jewish anti-Fascist chief Vittorio Foa, worked as one of hundreds of...

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Botticelli in the Fire, Hampstead Theatre review - history mash-up burns bright

Botticelli is a household name, but who knows the true story behind his most famous painting? The painter's 1480s masterpiece, The Birth of Venus, is one of the most striking images of Renaissance Florence – and has achieved iconic status. Because...

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Hisham Matar: A Month in Siena review – memories, framed

A Month in Siena is a sweet, short mediation on art, grief, and life. Ostensibly describing the time and space of its title, Matar touches on vanishings and lacunae in his past. Early on, he links the disappearance of his father in Cairo in 1990 to...

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Verdi Requiem, LPO, Gardner, RFH review – beyond the big noise

You seldom expect to feel the breath of apocalypse and the terror of the grave amid the modestly rationalist architecture and passion-killer acoustics of the Royal Festival Hall. In fact, before Edward Gardner and the London Philharmonic Orchestra...

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theartsdesk at Incontri in Terra di Siena: galloping concertos and Stravinsky by starlight

July in Tuscany and the heat is intense. Oak-forested hills offer tempting shade; pale dust flies from the roads; in the houses curtains are drawn against the ferocious sun and around irrigated gardens the mosquitos are growing plump. If you love...

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Ludovico Einaudi, Barbican review - a long road to nowhere

There is a video, part of Greenpeace’s laudable Save The Arctic Campaign, in which Ludovico Einaudi sits at a Steinway atop a small ice flow performing his Elegy for the Arctic. As he plays a descending scale, the camera pans slightly to the right...

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The Chef's Brigade, BBC Two review - you're in the army now

While a spot of home cooking can be a relaxing experience with a nice meal at the end of it, signing up to this culinary campaign with Michelin-starred mega-chef Jason Atherton is like being sent off to join the Foreign Legion. The plan is that...

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Pavarotti review - enjoyable but superficial survey of a superstar

One of the most memorable moments in Ron Howard’s documentary about Luciano Pavarotti is one of its earliest scenes. It’s a chunk of amateur video shot when Pavarotti visited the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, a splendid Belle Epoque structure in the...

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theartsdesk at the Ravenna Festival 2019 - in heaven with Dante's Purgatorio and Estonian rites

Two years ago Ermanna Montanari and Marco Martinelli, the visionary partners who have powered Ravenna's revolutionary Teatro delle Albe since 1986, led local people and international visitors down through the circles of Dante's Inferno. In 2021, the...

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La Fille du Régiment, Royal Opera review - enjoyable but questionable revival

On paper, this might seem like a revival too far, a production clearly intended as a vehicle for world-class singers being tacked on the end of the Covent Garden season, and without any big names in sight. But it turns out that Laurent Pelly’s...

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theartsdesk in Treviso - cultural patronage, Italian style

Fortunate those Italian towns and cities whose Renaissance rulers looked to the arts to enrich their domain. Now neglect of cultural heritage can be laid at the doors of successive governments, but regional enlightenment can make a difference even...

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The Light in the Piazza, RFH review - Broadway musical looks good and sounds even better

A Broadway show as melodically haunting and sophisticated as it is niche, The Light in the Piazza has taken its own bittersweet time getting to London. A separate European premiere in 2009 at Leicester's Curve Theatre whetted the local appetite for...

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