wed 22/11/2017

Austria

theartsdesk at the Viennale: shunning the 'illusion machine'

The Viennale is one of the best film festivals in the world and an indispensable part of Vienna’s cultural life. Yet this year’s edition was launched amid trying times. For one thing, whatever sanity-altering toxin is affecting voters the world over...

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The Magic Flute, Longborough Festival review - sparkling and moving

About The Magic Flute there’s a certain amount of domestic theatre and a great deal of pantomime. It calls for fun, sentiment, movement, a measure of spectacle, and plenty of direct communication with the audience. But like the mechanicals’ play in...

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The private life of Stefan Zweig in England

On 23 February 1942 at half past four in the afternoon in a secluded Brazilian hilltown called Petrópolis about an hour from Rio, a maid and her husband pushed at the bedroom door of a modest rented house. Despite the late hour, the tenants had not...

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Elisabeth Leonskaja, Wigmore Hall

Restlessness in a good sense was the keynote of Elisabeth Leonskaja's latest revelatory recital. At 71, the Russian pianist, now an Austrian citizen, has all the supreme mastery it takes to make the volatility work: perfect weight and balance,...

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Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream, BBC Four

Ebullient, prolific, loquacious and a charmingly enthusiastic historian both in print and for television, Simon Sebag Montefiore has turned his attention to the pivotal city of Vienna, nourished equally by the Danube and its central geographical...

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The Exterminating Angel, Die Liebe der Danae, Salzburg Festival

"Because the world has outlived its own downfall, it nevertheless needs art." Paul Celan's words stand alongside Anselm Kiefer's Jacob's Dream, part of a stunning Surrealism-centric exhibition in the foyer of Salzburg's second and more amenable...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Simple Minds

As the album featuring Simple Minds’ first Top Twenty single, “Promised You a Miracle”, 1982’s New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) was aptly titled. After the success of the next single “Glittering Prize”, it hit number three in the album charts. Five...

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Revolution and Romance: Musical Masters of the 19th Century, BBC Four

Suzy Klein, writer and presenter of this three-episode series, is a trained musician and a ubiquitous presence in cultural programmes across a wide spectrum. This opening film, "We Can Be Heroes", was an engagingly populist piece about a complicated...

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Schubert Lieder, Gerhaher, Huber, Wigmore Hall

In the Wigmore's Lieder prayer meetings, baritone Christian Gerhaher is the high priest. There are good reasons for this, but given that the innermost circle of Wigmore Friends pack out his concerts, you do feel that the slightest criticism might...

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Cats v Dogs, BBC Two

This slightly ludicrous programme is really a chance to see a charming range of dogs and cats, based on an assumption that by comparing cats and dogs we humans can decide which species is best. But best for what? As pets, domestic companions,...

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Alder, Hulett, Classical Opera, Page, Wigmore Hall

Unlike Schubert, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich, Mozart composed nothing astoundingly individual before the age of 20. That leaves any odyssey through his oeuvre, year by year – this one will finish in 2041, by which time I’ll be nearly 80 if I live...

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Morgen und Abend, Royal Opera

It’s never funny like Ligeti’s Le grand macabre, though it touches on that joke apocalypse’s more nebulous soundscapes. Nor is it obviously dynamic like David Sawer’s From Morning to Midnight, with which its title is not to be confused (there are no...

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