tue 19/10/2021

Russia

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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A Splinter of Ice, Original Theatre Company online review - Graham Greene and Kim Philby are friends reunited

There’s such a genial feel to the pairing of Oliver Ford Davies and Stephen Boxer in Ben Brown’s new play that there are moments when we almost forget the weighty historical circumstances that lay behind the long-awaited encounter between two old...

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Blu-ray: Viy

Released in 1967, Viy (Вий) was the first horror film to be produced in the USSR. Based on a novella by Gogol that draws from a multitude of folkloric tropes, Viy is more disquieting than chilling, though several sequences still unnerve. Konstantin...

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Myaskovsky Dialogues, Yekaterinburg online review - revival and revelation

The reputation of Nikolai Myaskovsky has long been cast into shadow by the more exportable extroversion of his contemporaries Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Even at their darkest moments, neither of them does Russian gloom quite like Myaskovsky, but...

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Pushkin House Music Festival online review - Russian around Bloomsbury

Sergey Prokofiev died on 5 March 1953, on the same day as Stalin. Perhaps that uncomfortable coincidence makes March the perfect time for a festival of Russian music. Pushkin House, the Russian cultural centre based in a Georgian villa in Bloomsbury...

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Blu-ray: The Ascent

There’s a striking interview among the extras for this Criterion edition of Russian director Larisa Shepitko’s fourth and final feature. The director was talking in 1978 to Bavarian Television at the Berlin Film Festival, where The Ascent had won...

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Coote, Blackshaw, Fiennes, Wigmore Hall online review – lonely hearts club band

Why, in Lieder singing above all, should an outpouring of deep feeling so frighten critics? Alice Coote’s unabashed emotionalism as a recitalist can sometimes bring out the worst in the stiff-upper-lip brigade, as reactions to her high-impact...

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Dear Comrades! review - Andrei Konchalovsky exposes the Soviet past

Veteran Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky has gone back to his beginnings for his latest film. The real-life events on which Dear Comrades! is based took place in June 1962, when social unrest over rising prices saw strikes break out in...

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