wed 19/06/2024

Russia

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Philharmonia Chorus, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - poetic cello, blazing chorus

Purple patches flourished in the first half of this admirable programme: it could hardly have been otherwise given Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s devotion to a new work in his repertoire, and the current strength of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under...

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The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, Marylebone Theatre review - from Russia with love

Like all great literature, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final, eccentric, playfully wondrous short story seems to have been written just for us – across two centuries and on the other side of the world. It’s a resonance that ripples through Laurence Boswell’...

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Uncle Vanya, Orange Tree Theatre review - Chekhov served up choice

"We all live here in peace and friendship," notes Telegin (David Ahmad), otherwise known as Waffles, early in Uncle Vanya, to which one is tempted to respond, "yeah, right."As casually bruising a play as I know, Chekhov's wounding yet also brutally...

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Faust, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - violence and wit in Shostakovich, luminosity in Brahms

The LSO’s apéritif hour “Half-Six Fixes” have an informality that usually works and sometimes doesn’t. But the first of this two-night run of Dmitri Shostakovich’s monstrous and terrifying Fourth Symphony was unforgettable. Panels on the auditorium...

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Gerhaher, Huber, Wigmore Hall review - new colours from old favourites

After a frozen week, the sensual languor of Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été promised warm respite at the Wigmore Hall – especially when delivered by house favourite Christian Gerhaher and his peerless pianist, Gerold Huber.Yet the Bavarian baritone saved...

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Tchaikovsky's Wife review - husband material

The movies haven’t been kind to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker Suite was a highlight of Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940) perhaps, but the 1969 Soviet biopic directed by Igor Talankin was tedious and Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers, released...

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Queendom review - an LGBTQ+ performance artist takes to the streets of Moscow in protest

It takes a brave or a foolhardy person to walk the streets wearing almost nothing but barbed wire and platform shoes, especially when the occasion is an anti-war demo in Moscow and the penalty for joining the march is up to 15 years in jail.It’s...

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Album: Lucidvox - That's What Remained

That's What Remained is the aural equivalent of being pulled into a maelstrom and then surrendering to this powerful natural force. Initially, it does not seem safe. But it soon becomes apparent that submission isn’t a problem. It will be fine....

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Lugansky, RPO, Petrenko, RFH review - so sure in all their ways

It’s a given that no finer Rachmaninov interpreter exists than Nikolai Lugansky – a few others may see the works differently, not better – and that Vasily Petrenko has an uncanny affinity with both the swagger and the introspection of Elgar. But...

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Prom 16: Hallé, Elder review - a mighty Russian journey

Perhaps music and politics should always stay at a decent arm’s length; in the modern world, they seldom can. The Hallé’s annual visit to the Proms presented an all-Russian bill and closed with Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony: his much-disputed “...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Musical Offering - works for the Soviet-era ANS synthesiser

One of the most striking scenes in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 outer-space allegory Solaris is psychologist Kris Kelvin’s first encounter with a being which seems to be his wife, who had died a decade earlier. The unsettling incident’s inherent tension...

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Extract: Bacon in Moscow by James Birch

In 1988, James Birch – curator, art dealer, and gallery owner – took Francis Bacon to Moscow. It was, as he writes, "an unimaginable intrusion of Western Culture into the heart of the Soviet system". At a time of powerful political tension and...

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