wed 13/12/2017

1920s

Modigliani, Tate Modern review - the pitfalls of excess

Modigliani was an addict. Booze, fags, absinthe, hash, cocaine, women. He lived fast, died young, cherished an idea of what an artist should be and pursued it to his death. His nickname, Modi, played on the idea of the artiste maudit – the...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Steven Knight and Cillian Murphy of Peaky Blinders

Like a lot of people, I came late to Peaky Blinders, bingeing on the first two brutal, but undeniably brilliant, series like the proverbial box-set sensation it quickly became. With its focus on the turmoil and fortunes of a particularly unruly...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Lubitsch in Berlin

The German director Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947) is best known for the insouciant screwball comedies he made in Hollywood. Many who haven’t seen his films will have heard of “the Lubitsch Touch” – at its most basic, his winking way of signifying...

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Babylon Berlin, Sky Atlantic review – brilliantly promising Euro-noir

Sky Atlantic’s German import is an intoxicating mix of intrigue and betrayal, set in the excessive days of the Weimar Republic. Gripping stories and extravagant production meet in the opening two episodes of this brilliantly promising Euro-noir....

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Bavouzet, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - playing the long game in Sibelius

Perhaps Sibelius did the right thing, signing off Tapiola in 1926 and then all but closing his account, spending the next three decades sitting and drinking. Over in Paris, his near-contemporary Florent Schmitt carried on, beavering away not only as...

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October, LSO, Strobel, Barbican review - Eisenstein with steel score

Forget the ersatz experience of Sergey Eisenstein's mighty silent films accompanied by slabs of Shostakovich symphonies composed years later. This collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra and Kino Klassika is as close as we can ever come...

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Soutine's Portraits, Courtauld Gallery review - a superb, unsettling show

This is the latest in a line of beautifully curated, closely focused exhibitions that the Courtauld Gallery does so well. Its subject is the great Russian-French painter Chaim Soutine (1893-1943) who, remarkably, has not had a UK exhibition devoted...

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Goodbye Christopher Robin review - no escape for a boy and his bear

“Isn’t it funny/How a bear likes honey?/Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!/I wonder why he does.” Those immortal words, said by the bear of very little brain in chapter one of Winnie-the-Pooh, don’t sound quite the same after watching a shell-shocked AA Milne (...

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Oedipe, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - Enescu's masterpiece glorious and complete

It’s official: Romanian master George Enescu’s four-act Greek epic lives and breathes as a work of transcendent genius. It took last year’s Royal Opera production to lead us further along the path established by the magnificent EMI studio recording...

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Pagliacci/L’enfant et les sortilèges, Opera North review - off and on with the motley

The first two one-acters in Opera North’s season called The Little Greats were unveiled on Saturday. There are six in all, scheduled on a mix-and-match basis so Leeds opera-goers can choose their own tapas menu: grab one show, choose from various...

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'Making it new' - Blake Morrison on adaptation, and how his new play came to life

Is there anything more terrifying for a playwright than the first day of rehearsals? For months, even years, you’ve been working and reworking the text, saying the words aloud to yourself in an empty room and imagining the actors saying them to a...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Der müde Tod

"Weary Death" – "Destiny", the English-language title, is weak by comparison – settles in a small German town, an impressive simulation constructed on a back lot of the Babelsberg Studio outside Berlin. He buys a plot in the churchyard, builds...

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