tue 19/03/2019

Sweden

DVD: Bergman - A Year in A Life

1957 was a busy year for a very busy director: Ingmar Bergman made two of his most famous films The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, several TV dramas, and a number of major stage productions. All the while, he was suffering from painful stomach...

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Border review - genre-defying Oscar-nominated Swedish film

This might just be the most challenging film review I’ve had to write in decades. The best thing would be to go and see Border knowing nothing more than that it won the prize for most innovative film at Cannes. Don't watch the trailer, and...

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Un ballo in maschera, Welsh National Opera review - opera as brilliant self-parody

Why is Un Ballo in maschera not as popular as the trio of Verdi masterpieces – Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore – that, with a couple of digressions, preceded it in the early 1850s? Its music is scarcely less brilliant than theirs, and if its plot is...

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Black Lake, Series 2 Finale, BBC Four review - Swedish chiller fails to thrill

A bunch of young-ish people stuck in a rambling house in the middle of nowhere, a hatchet-faced senior citizen guarding a hoard of murky secrets, assorted missing persons, a derelict sanatorium, lots of creepy noises and no telephones… hang on, isn’...

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CD: Majken - Young Believer

Although both are Swedish, this particular Majken has nothing to do with the pop-reggae-ska band Majken Tajken which has issued a couple of albums. The singular Majken – Anna Majken to her family – is from Malmö and Young Believer is her debut album...

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theartsdesk in Gothenburg - Wagner's gold turns green

Before we hear a note, extras dressed as maintenance staff potter about the stage. They try to erase a scrawled slogan on a wall that reads “Hur allt började”: how it all began. “It” is the story of Wagner’s Ring cycle as presaged in the...

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The Girl in the Spider's Web review - Claire Foy leathers up

The enthronement of Claire Foy has been quite a spectacle. Perhaps some of Her Majesty’s mystique has rubbed off, as she is now entering that territory known to few young actors, where you’ll happily pay to see her in anything. Should that policy...

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CD: Robyn - Honey

Eight long years, Robyn fans have been waiting. Crazed tweets screamed #releasehoneydammit into the ether for weeks as the Swedish songwriter teased her new music.Comeback single and certified summer earworm “Missing You” was the first song Robyn...

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Juliana, Nova Music Opera, St John's Smith Square review - new version of a classic drama

Joseph Phibbs is not the first composer to make an opera out of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and it is not difficult to see the operatic appeal of this taut, passionate three-handed drama. But there are also hazards: my recollections of the play,...

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theartsdesk in Stockholm: the Birgit Nilsson Prize unites two great Wagnerian sopranos

Why are great Wagnerian singers the most down-to-earth and collegial in the world of opera? Perhaps you have to be to master and sustain the biggest roles in the business, ones which can't be performed in isolation, and a strong constitution helps,...

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Fröst, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - blood, sweat and sweetness

Single adjectives by way of description always sell masterpieces short, and especially the ambiguous symphonies forged in blood, sweat and tears during the Stalin years. The Barbican's advance blurb hit one aspect of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony...

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The Wife review - Glenn Close deserves better from her latest Oscar bid

Writers need to write, or so goes the unimpeachable argument that underpins The Wife, which is being strongly touted as the film that may finally bring leading lady Glenn Close an Oscar in her seventh time at bat. Close is terrific, as she almost...

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