sun 17/02/2019

royalty

Un ballo in maschera, Welsh National Opera review - opera as brilliant self-parody

Why is Un Ballo in maschera not as popular as the trio of Verdi masterpieces – Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore – that, with a couple of digressions, preceded it in the early 1850s? Its music is scarcely less brilliant than theirs, and if its plot is...

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Mary Queen of Scots review - Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie excel

Very much a woman of today, the Catholic Stuart heroine (Saoirse Ronan) of Mary Queen of Scots frequently hacks her way out of a thicket of power-hungry males, enjoys it when her English suitor Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) goes down on her, and is...

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Queen of the World, ITV review - born to run and run

Awesome numbers: over a million miles, the equivalent of 42 times around the globe, have been traversed by Her Majesty the Queen, enabling visits over the past seven decades or so to 117 different countries. No one has reigned longer nor travelled...

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The King and I, London Palladium review - classic musical reborn with modern sensibilities

Shall we dodge? (One, two, three) No, the brilliance of Bartlett Sher’s Tony-winning Lincoln Center revival – first on Broadway in 2015, now gracing the West End, with its original leads – is that it faces the problematic elements of Rodgers...

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Lessons in Love and Violence, Royal Opera review - savage elegance never quite glows red-hot

A rope is mercy; a razor-blade to the throat, a kiss; a red-hot poker… But, of course, we never get anything so literal as the poker in George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s elegant, insinuating retelling of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II. The title...

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The Queen's Green Planet, ITV review - right royal arboreals

QCC isn’t the name of a new football club, nor some higher qualification for those toiling at the Bar, but stands for "Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy". Had you heard of it? On the eve of the Commonwealth conference, along came Jane Treays's gently...

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Charles I: King and Collector, Royal Academy review - a well executed display of taste

Titian! Mantegna!  Rubens! Dürer! Veronese! Van Dyck! Raphael! Velazquez! About 140 works which were once part of Charles I’s 2,000-strong collection are reunited in a sumptuous collaboration between the Royal Academy and the Royal Collection....

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DVD: The King's Choice

It’s fascinating to compare this Norwegian film, which despite being Oscar-nominated (it made the Best Foreign Film shortlist of nine, but not the final five) has slipped out without a cinema release in the UK, with Darkest Hour. Set over a crucial...

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Art, Passion and Power: The Story of the Royal Collection, BBC Four review - monarchs knew the power of the portrait

Henry VIII had a troubled marital history and Charles I lost his head, but both have also gone down in history as original, innovative and obsessive collectors of art, founders in different ways of what is now one of the world’s greatest...

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The Crown, Series 2, Netflix review - all our yesterdays, cunningly rewritten

Beneath the creamy overlay of gowns, crystal chandeliers, palaces, uniformed flunkies and a sumptuous (albeit CGI-enhanced) Royal Yacht, a steely pulse of realpolitik fuels The Crown, returning to Netflix for its much-anticipated second series....

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DVD: The Death of Louis XIV

Albert Serra has earned himself the directorial moniker “the Catalan king of stasis”, and nothing in The Death of Louis XIV is going to dispel such a reputation – if anything, he has honed that characteristic approach further, concentrating this...

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Victoria and Abdul review - Judi Dench's Queen Victoria retread battles creaky script

The charm quickly palls in Victoria and Abdul, a watery sequel of sorts to Mrs Brown that salvages what lustre it can from its octogenarian star, the indefatigable Judi Dench. Illuminating a little-known friendship between Queen Victoria in her...

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