mon 23/10/2017

1940s

Prom 61 review: Fleming, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Oramo - heliotropic ecstasies

No sunshine without shadows was one possible theme rippling through this diva sandwich of a Prom. Even Richard Strauss's chaste nymph Daphne, achieving longed-for metamorphosis as a tree, finds darkness among the roots; and though Renée "The...

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Proms 34 & 35 review: Oklahoma!, John Wilson Orchestra - music triumphs, words and drama suffer

Only one thing could equal the "wow!" factor of seeing and hearing a youngish Hugh Jackman launch into “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’“ at the start of the National Theatre’s 1998 staging of Oklahoma!: John Wilson and his orchestra trilling and...

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Man in an Orange Shirt, BBC Two review - soft-focus view of 1940s gay love affair

As chat-up lines go, “I can’t do my fly up single-handed” is pretty full on – even if it is true. Thomas March (James McArdle) is speaking to James Berryman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who not only went to the same public school but has also just saved...

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Buxton Festival review - early Verdi, earlier Mozart and refreshing Britten

“The subject is neither political nor religious; it is fantastical” wrote Verdi to the librettist Piave about his opera Macbeth. “The opera is not about the rise of a modern fascist: nor is it about political tyranny. It is a study in character”...

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Ariadne auf Naxos, Glyndebourne review – seriously compelling revival

It’s often said that Ariadne auf Naxos is all about The Composer – not only Richard Strauss but an affectionate parody of his younger self – and Katharina Thoma takes this idea seriously in her Glyndebourne production. In the role, Angela Brower...

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Albert Herring, The Grange Festival review - playing it straight yields classic comedy gold

Perfect comedies for the country-house opera scene? Mozart's Figaro and Così, Strauss's Ariadne - and Britten's Albert Herring, now 70 years and a few days old, but as ageless as the rest. With the passing of time it's ever more obvious that this...

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Churchill review - Winston has smallness thrust upon him

He may often be voted Greatest Briton in the History of Everything, but are we approaching peak Winston? Scroll down Churchill’s IMDb entry and you’ll find that he’s been played by every Tom, Dick and Harry in all manner of cockamamie entertainments...

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The Discovery of Mondrian review - the most comprehensive survey ever

Standing inside the Gemeentemuseum’s life-size reconstruction of Mondrian’s Paris studio, the painter’s reputation as an austere recluse seems well-deserved. Returning from Holland to France after the First World War, he lived and worked in what...

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All Our Children review - shameful historical period horrifies anew

How do you tell a story as complex as the eugenics movement, which is pursued afresh in writer-director Stephen Unwin's new play All Our Children? Its idealistic origins lie in Britain with Francis Galton in 1883, before leading to forced...

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Their Finest review - undone by feeble female characterisation

Yet another excuse to snuggle down with some cosy wartime nostalgia, Their Finest is purportedly a tribute to women’s undervalued role in the British film industry. Unfortunately it comes over more blah than Blitz. Gemma Arterton plays Catrin Cole,...

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Neruda, review - 'poetry and politics'

Chilean director Pablo Larrain has described Neruda as a “false biopic”, and it’s a film that surprises on many levels in its presentation of Pablo Neruda, the great poet who is his country’s best-known cultural figure. It captivates for the scope...

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Matthew Bourne's Early Adventures, Sadler's Wells

Not every artist attains the kind of status that will allow their early works to be revived – or, when revived, greeted with commercial and critical success. This is something of a shame for those of us with a historical mindset who like seeing...

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