mon 23/04/2018

Russia

Andsnes, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - dazzling symphonic contrasts, plus oddities

Kudos, as ever, to Vladimir Jurowski for making epic connections. Not only did he bookend a rich LPO concert with two very different symphonies from the late 1930s by Stravinsky and Shostakovich; he also masterminded and attended the early evening...

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Occupied, series 2, Sky Atlantic review - political conflicts looking all too actual

Eight months have passed since the Russians invaded Norway in the first season of Jo Nesbo’s neo-Cold War thriller. Real-life events have only made Occupied seem more relevant. Like Conrad’s novel Under Western Eyes, it dramatises the clash between...

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Blu-ray: Andrey Zvyagintsev - The Return / The Banishment

Andrey Zvyagintsev is without doubt one of the great film-makers of our time. If you only know Leviathan, it's about time you looked at the rest of his considerable oeuvre. What is it about Russian cinema? Since the 1920s, Russia has brought us a...

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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Royal Opera review - bleak rigour and black comedy still cast a spell

Anyone who's seen Richard Jones's rigorous production before will remember the makeover – Katerina Izmailova, bored and brutalised housewife released by sex and murder from her shackles, having her drab bedroom expanded and redecorated in deliberate...

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From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera review - Janáček's prison oddity prompts hot tears

A political prisoner is brutally initiated into the life of a state penitentiary, and leaves it little over 90 minutes later. Four inmates reveal their brutal past histories with elliptical strangeness - each would need an episode of something like...

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Red Sparrow review - from Russia with lust

As it turns out, the slashed-to-the-hip Versace dress with which Jennifer Lawrence provoked controversy (synthetic or otherwise) on a freezing London rooftop was an accurate barometer of what to expect from Red Sparrow. It has the nostalgic...

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'The greatest play ever written': translating The Cherry Orchard

“The Cherry Orchard is the greatest play ever written,” I declared, confidently, aged 16, to my mother, having just read The Cherry Orchard for the first time. She responded to my claim with a non-committal snort – remembering, perhaps, the...

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McMafia, Series finale, BBC One review - the last bite is the cruellest

McMafia has taught us to recognise one thing – you might call it the “Norton stride”. As the charismatic Alex Godman, James Norton has been advancing, confidently at screen centre, towards one challenge after another, and they have been coming (...

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Loveless review - from Russia, without love

After the anger, the emptiness… Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless is his fifth film, and harks back to the world of complicated, somehow unelucidated family relationships that characterised his debut, The Return, the work that brought...

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Baráti, Lyddon, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - Stravinsky's bright but derivative beginnings

"You have to start somewhere," Debussy is reported to have said at the 1910 premiere of The Firebird. Which, at least, is a very good "somewhere" for Stravinsky, shot through with flashes of the personality to come. The Symphony in E flat of two...

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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Kneehigh on tour review - sweetest musical Chagalliana

Time flies so much more beguilingly in Daniel Jamieson and Emma Rice's 90-minute musical fantasia than it ever has, for me, in Bock and Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof – and the songs aren't bad, either. The inspiration here – and inspiration's the...

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Bruno Maçães: The Dawn of Eurasia review - middle of nowhere

Part travelogue and part broad analysis of the current and future challenges facing the EU, the premise of Bruno Maçães’s new book The Dawn of Eurasia is to “use travel to provide an injection of reality of political, economic and historical...

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