sat 16/12/2017

19th century

Cendrillon, RNCM, Manchester review - magic and spectacle

The Royal Northern College of Music’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon has a particularly strong professional production team, and it shows. This is one of the most attractively spectacular operas the college has mounted for years.Director Olivia...

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Octets, Wigmore Hall review - Heath Quartet and star friends effervesce

To compose a masterpiece in your teens is rare enough; to choose the most elaborate form in chamber music, an octet for eight strings, ensures a peculiar kind of immortality. George Enescu, a still-underestimated genius described by protege Yehudi...

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The Nutcracker, English National Ballet review - a thoroughly enchanting performance

The familiar doesn’t have to get old. Last night at the Coliseum there were children in the boxes, adults in the circle and grandparents in the stalls. Seasonal favourite Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker brings all ages to the ballet — as well as...

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From Life, Royal Academy review - perplexingly aimless

Dedicated to a foundation stone of western artistic training, this exhibition attempts a celebratory note as the Royal Academy approaches its 250th anniversary. But if the printed guide handed to visitors offers a detailed overview of working from...

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Johnston, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - sheer adrenalin in early Sibelius

As the Parliament of the Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire declared independence on 6 December 1917, Sibelius had his head down working on the third version of his Fifth Symphony, the one so hugely popular today. He tried...

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Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt, Wigmore Hall review - lyrical Brahms from veteran duo

Sonata no 1 – Sonata no 2 – Sonata no 3 – that’s barely a recital programme, it’s just a list. Fortunately, violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt (pictured below by Neda Navae) have good musical reasons for presenting the Brahms violin...

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Darius Battiwalla, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester review - improvisation extraordinaire

Organ improvisation is a remarkable art, prized in French musical culture particularly, and there was something highly appropriate in the choice of The Phantom of the Opera – a screening of the 1925 silent film with live accompaniment on the RNCM...

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A Christmas Carol, Old Vic review - Rhys Ifans takes on Scrooge, triumphantly

Fresh from the success of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jack Thorne now gives us his exuberant adaptation of another much-loved text. Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol is the well-worn morality fable seared into our collective memory...

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Mitsuko Uchida, RFH review - Schubert from rough to heavenly

When you've found your living ideal for Schubert's sonatas - Elisabeth Leonskaja, surely - it can be a challenge to stay open-minded and welcome another take on the profundities. Mitsuko Uchida didn't make it easy for herself or us at the start by...

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'She has escaped from my Asylum!': The Woman in White returns

The Woman in White insists on being told and retold. Wilkie Collins’s much loved thriller is perhaps the most widely and frequently adapted of all the great Victorian novels. In Marian Halcombe it has a resourceful heroine whose appeal doesn't rest...

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Semiramide, Royal Opera review - Rossini's Queen is back

It has long been a mystery why no new production of Semiramide should have been staged at Covent Garden since 1887: un offesa terribile considering that this splendid melodramma tragico should have been the inaugural production of the Royal Italian...

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Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland review, National Gallery - light-filled northern vistas

Finland is celebrating its centenary this year and the National Gallery's exhibition of four paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kalela (1865-1931) of a very large lake in central Finland is a beguiling glimpse of the passion its inhabitants attach to its...

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