fri 07/10/2022

Russia

Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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Bliss, Finborough Theatre review - bleak but tender

When Bliss, a new play adapted from an Andrei Platonov short story by Fraser Grace, made its debut in Russia in early 2020, Cambridge-based company Menagerie were told that their production was “very Russian”.I’m no expert on Russian culture, but I...

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Compartment No. 6 - strangers on a Russian train sweetly connect

Juho Kuosmanen’s Cannes Grand Prix-winner observes two strangers on a train, taking the arduous journey from Moscow to Arctic Murmansk in 1998. Laura (Seidi Haarla) is a Finnish student hoping to study ancient rock paintings, Ljoha (Yuriy...

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Bartlett, LPO, Mathieson, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne review – Rhymes, Rhapsody and Winter Daydreams

Who could have imagined the table-turning controversy that might have cast doubt on the inclusion of works by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky when planning this programme?Before raising the baton, Holly Mathieson expressed the hope that Russian music...

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Dogs of Europe, Belarus Free Theatre, Barbican Theatre review - doom art with doom reality

Hindsight is everything. In the light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, political intrigues have suddenly taken on a far more menacing face, disbelief has been pulverised by reality – and theatre has become actuality.A few weeks ago, the Belarus Free...

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The Golden Cockerel, English Touring Opera review - no crowing over this henhouse

A plea to anyone who was seeing Rimsky-Korsakov’s last opera for the first time at the Hackney Empire: please don’t give up on ever seeing or listening to it again, as some I spoke to afterwards said they just had. I promise you, the fault lies in...

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Kanneh-Mason, LPO, Bloxham, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne review - stark Russian contrasts

With a predictable Sheku sell-out in the hall, the context of post-Eunice clean-up and current teetering on the brink with Russia lent a strangely unsettling and salutary resonance to the programme of Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto framed by...

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The Cherry Orchard, Windsor Theatre Royal review - Tolstoy meets Mrs Two Soups

The cherry orchard in Anton Chekhov’s eponymous play is a classic MacGuffin, its existence a reason to stir the sorts of resentments, fancies and identity causes that start wars and revolutions. The orchard’s beautiful, and that’s all – a cultivated...

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Blu-ray: The Lighthouse (Mayak)

Mariya Saakyan’s 2006 debut feature is bookended by grainy footage of what looks like a fire-ravaged diary, the distressed, crumbling scraps of paper torn and charred. The missing pages and unfinished sentences spill over into what follows, Saakyan...

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Album: Kevin Richard Martin - Return to Solaris

It takes a brave musician who thinks that he or she can do a better job than the combined talents of Russian electronica trailblazer Eduard Artemyev and Johann Sebastian Bach. However, Kevin Martin, also known as The Bug and a prime mover for such...

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Ivan the Terrible, Grange Park Opera review - from tsar to Stalin in five lopsided scenes

All 15 of Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas deserve to be seen and heard live at least once, though not all of them need staging. Veteran director David Pountney’s bold choice for Grange Park Opera actually gives us two, a prologue reworked as music-drama...

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Eugene Onegin, Garsington Opera review - choral and orchestral opulence for Tchaikovsky

Peasant harvesters enter from the facsimile of Lady Ottoline Morrell’s Garsington garden to the right (stage left) of the state-of-the-art pavilion and, splendidly led by a solo tenor (Dominick Felix), burst into song. The temptation is to burst...

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