tue 28/03/2017

Germany

SS–GB, Series Finale, BBC One

In the end, SS-GB promised more than it could deliver, but it still left us with some memorable images (not least in the cleverly-crafted opening titles) and several excellent performances. The ending even dangled the faintest hint of a sequel,...

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Royal Opera

Recent British-based productions have taken Wagner's paean to creativity, the reconciliation of tradition and the individual talent, at face value. Graham Vick's long-serving Covent Garden colourfest, with its brilliant staging of the night brawl;...

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SS–GB, BBC One

“What if the Germans had won the war?” has been a recurring theme in fiction, from Noel Coward’s Peace in Our Time to Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle and Robert Harris’s Fatherland. There was even a predictive pre-war “future history”...

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Unforgotten – Series 2 Finale, ITV / After Brexit: The Battle for Europe, BBC Two

From Jimmy Savile to the Rotherham scandal, child sexual abuse has become a recurring nightmare of our society, and thus is inevitably grist to the TV dramatist’s mill. It has been a crucial component in The Missing, National Treasure and...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jakub Hrůša

Only four flutes were on stage at the start of Jakub Hrůša’s latest concert with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the reins of which he took over from Jonathan Nott last September. Charles Ives would have been amazed to hear his “Voices of Druids” on...

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Toni Erdmann

There aren't many films that at (nearly) three hours in length leave you wanting more. But such is the hypnotic grip cast by Maren Ade's Oscar-nominated Toni Erdmann that its final image seems as much the prelude to something as a closing note on...

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Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Gardiner, Barbican

Add three natural trumpets, flawlessly wielded, to chorus and standard period-instrument orchestra, and the seasonal spirit will flow no matter the context. It's true that Bach's Magnificat is not that common a visitor at this time of year -...

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Sunday Book: Günter Grass - Of All That Ends

In this, his final book, the late German author and Nobel literature laureate tells us that he used to disgust his children with offal-heavy dishes rooted in the peasant fare of his forebears. As modern kids, they turned their noses up at “pigs’...

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The Missing, Series 2 Finale, BBC One

Anyone hoping for a few laughs and a nice bit of catharsis after enduring the eight unstintingly miserable episodes of The Missing would have got none of the former and hardly any of the latter. Writers Jack and Harry Williams had sprung most of...

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Close to the Enemy, BBC Two / Paranoid, Series Finale, ITV

We last encountered Stephen Poliakoff on TV in 2013's Dancing on the Edge, which provoked mixed reactions (not least on theartsdesk). That was the story of a black jazz band in 1930s London, who played gigs at swanky hotels. Close to the Enemy (★)...

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Francofonia

The Russian director Alexander Sokurov has never been afraid of tackling weighty, often philosophical issues head on, and his latest film Francofonia is as pioneering – and, some might say, unnecessarily uncompromising – as ever. It’s nothing less...

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Lulu, English National Opera

After a day of sheer pain, would it be endless night or cathartic relief at ENO? Both, must be the answer, and much more, all at once. Iconoclastic Frank Wedekind's "earth-spirit" Lulu, exploited as a street-child but now able to turn the tables for...

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