mon 26/08/2019

St Petersburg

The Mighty Handful, ROH Orchestra, Pappano, Royal Opera House

What fun it must have been to attend any of the St Petersburg Free Music School concerts during the second half of the 19th century. Balakirev, idiosyncratic mentor of the group briefly together as the "Mighty Handful", and his acolytes – Borodin,...

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War and Peace, BBC One

So, Andrew Davies has bitten off the big one. It may have come as a surprise to some that the master of adapting the British classics for television hadn’t read Tolstoy’s classic-to-end-all-classics until the BBC mooted the idea of a new screen...

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Prom 70: Lugansky, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Temirkanov

Russian classics evening at the Proms? It could be what Alexandra Coghlan, writing about Prom 69, described as “another night at the musical office”. But given the masters in charge of two masterpieces fusing storytelling with symphonic sweep and...

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Dispatches: Hunted - Gay and Afraid, Channel 4

There can’t be many American public figures who are welcome on Russian television these days, but Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is one of them. In Hunted: Gay and Afraid we saw him sitting in on legislative gatherings too,...

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Cathedrals of Culture

Back at the Venice Biennale in 2010, the German film director Wim Wenders showed a 3D video installation titled “If Buildings Could Talk”.Exploring the theme of how architecture interacts with human beings, and attempting to capture the soul of the...

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Apollo/ A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Opera House

The ballerina claque wars that generally accompany visits here by the Mariinsky Ballet are raging particularly feverishly this year, but it all falls silent when Uliana Lopatkina makes one of her increasingly rare appearances. So much noise is...

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Gergiev: a response and an open letter

Following theartsdesk's Monday opinion piece on reasons for moving towards a boycott on Valery Gergiev's concerts, and in the general climate created by other reports and protests, the conductor has issued the following statement, to which David...

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Stephen Fry: Out There, BBC Two

Respect and dignity, intolerance and hatred: the poles were set far apart in Stephen Fry: Out There. It’s good to have Fry the thoughtful presenter back – it’s been a long time since his The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive – on a subject close...

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Nacho Duato, Mikhailovsky Ballet, London Coliseum

The Mikhailovsky Ballet closed their epic two-week Coliseum season with modern works by their director, Nacho Duato, presumably hoping to display their capabilities at all dance forms. Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness is a work in two...

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Bankruptcy won't stop the ballet

The Mikhailovsky Ballet's general director, Russia's fruit tycoon Vladimir Kekhman, may just have been declared bankrupt, but the company is pressing ahead with its star-studded London trip in March. Fraud investigators last week raided the...

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Anna Karenina, Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg, London Coliseum

An apocryphal story tells of an awful theatrical adaptation of the story of Anne Frank. When the Nazis arrive to search the house where the family are in hiding, an enraged theatre-goer shouts, “She’s in the attic!” Well, I didn’t quite point Anna...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Russian Choreographer Boris Eifman

No choreographer so divides American and British critics as Russia's only international dancemaker, Boris Eifman. He's "an amazing magician of the theatre", according to the late, great US critic Clive Barnes. He "flaunts all the worst clichés of...

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