thu 24/10/2019

mythology

Phaedra, Linbury Theatre review - from confusing passion to blazing afterlife

Leaving a revival performance of Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur, a friend asked Hans Werner Henze, also in the audience, that dreaded question: "what did you think?" "Very competent and extremely well performed," came the answer. What snap...

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The Half God of Rainfall, Kiln Theatre review - titanic war of the gods

If British theatre often seems to lack ambition, the same cannot be said of The Half God of Rainfall, a galaxy-hopping mythological mash-up. Written by Inua Ellams, whose Barber Shop Chronicles was a big foot-stomping hit for the National in 2017,...

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CD: Amon Amarth - Berserker

Many groups have based their career focusing almost completely on one thing and evermore honing it. Bands ranging from The Ramones to the Cocteau Twins to the Black Keys to even the Foo Fighters could arguably be said to follow this remit. Swedish...

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Ali Smith: Spring review – green shoots, dark fears

Stopped in the street for a vox pop by a BBC interviewer keen to “fill your air” with strife and bile, a character in Spring retorts that “there’s a world out there bigger than Brexit, yeah?” Newshound critics, take note. The symbolically named Brit...

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The Monstrous Child, Royal Opera, Linbury Theatre review - fresh operatic mythology for teenagers

Hel, heroine of Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon’s new opera, is the illegitimate daughter of the Norse god Loki. In many ways The Monstrous Child itself feels like a bastard offspring, born – moody, mouthy and full of fragile rage – to Wagner’s...

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Die Walküre, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - love shines out

Harpers on the undeniably offensive aspect of Wagner the man might question attending a concert performance of his second Ring opera on World Holocaust Day. Fortunately there's nothing anti-semitic to be found anywhere in Die Walküre. As embodied by...

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald review - mischief not quite managed

Two years after the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we return to the Wizarding World once again for the next, somewhat convoluted, chapter in the five planned prequel instalments, with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald...

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Hadestown, National Theatre review - new folk musical is hotter than hell

The road to full musical theatre production has been a long one for Hadestown. It began back in 2006, with Anaïs Mitchell’s song cycle – a folk/jazz take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth – toured around Vermont in a school bus, then grew into an...

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Götterdämmerung, Royal Opera review - a fiery finale to this ambiguous cycle

And so it ends. Flames give way to water, and as the Rhinemaidens resume their naked dance we come full circle – quite literally in Keith Warner’s Wagner Ring – back where we began, on the banks of the Rhine. Once again we find ourselves on the...

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Siegfried, Royal Opera review - a truly fearless hero

Siegfried is usually the problem with Siegfried. Even Stuart Skelton, top Tristan and currently singing an acclaimed Siegmund in this last revival of Keith Warner's rattlebag Ring, won't touch the longest, toughest heroic-tenor role in Wagner, the...

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Die Walküre, Royal Opera review – putting family before sex

Perched alone and fearful in her hut as the curtain rises on Die Walküre, Sieglinde clutches and then throws aside a grimy teddy-bear. Story time is over. The nymphs and gold and bickering gods all belong in the past, to the ‘preliminary evening’ of...

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Das Rheingold, Royal Opera review - high drama and dark comedy

Keith Warner’s production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen was first seen at Covent Garden between 2004 and 2006, and is now back for a third and final series of full runs, chiefly to catch the Brünnhilde of Nina Stemme in three of the operas,...

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