wed 20/09/2017

Italy

DVD/Blu-ray: The Legend of the Holy Drinker

A decade after his masterpiece, The Tree of Wooden Clogs, won the 1978 Palme d’Or at Cannes, Italian director Ermanno Olmi took Venice’s 1988 Golden Lion for The Legend of the Holy Drinker (La leggenda del santo bevitore). Festival victories aside,...

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La Bohème, Royal Opera review - spectacle and sentiment not yet in focus

“I’m not in the mood” – “non sono in vena” – sings aspiring poet Rodolfo as he settles down to write a lead article. Was it me, or had the mood not settled by the premiere of the Royal Opera’s first new production of Puccini's structurally perfect...

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Prom 54 review: Kavakos, Filarmonica della Scala, Chailly - cool Milanesi mute Roman exuberance

Last night was one of those rare occasions when I'd rather have heard Respighi's gaudy-brilliant Roman Festivals than Brahms's Violin Concerto. It wasn't just that concerts like Charles Dutoit's 2014 Prom had shown us that the Italian's Roman...

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Edinburgh Festival 2017 review: Verdi's Macbeth - exhilarating and overwhelming

Skeletal horses; piles of newborn babies smothered in a bloody sheet; a whole garden centre of prickly pears. There’s no denying that Italian director Emma Dante’s new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, which Turin’s Teatro Regio brings to the Edinburgh...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1978, Ermanno Olmi’s The Tree of Wooden Clogs (L’albero deli zoccoli) is a glorious fresco that reveals, over the course of an unhurried three hours and with a pronounced documentary element that virtually...

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El-Khoury, Spyres, Hallé, Rizzi, Cadogan Hall review - bel canto lives again

Unless you're an undiscriminating fan of bel canto, the lesser Italian and French operas of the 1830s and '40s - that's to say, not Verdi's Nabucco and Macbeth or Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini - need to be approached with caution. Once you've lowered...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Bird With the Crystal Plumage

A well-known internet sales site currently offers seven previous home cinema editions of The Bird With the Crystal Plumage. Some are DVD or Blu-ray only, others are on both formats – increasing the amount of packages on offer. Only a brave company...

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Michelangelo: Love and Death review - how to diminish a colossus

As perhaps the greatest artist there has ever been – and as one of the most fascinating and complex personalities of his era – Michelangelo should be a thrilling subject for serious as well as dramatic cinematic documentary treatment. Michelangelo...

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La Strada, The Other Palace review - Fellini's tragicomedy becomes a noisy romp

Hitting the essence of a Fellini masterpiece in a different medium is no easy task. Try and reproduce his elusive brand of poetic melancholy and you'll fail; best to transfer the characters to a different medium, as the musical Sweet Charity did in...

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Giacomo Balla: Designing the Future, Estorick Collection

The wonderful Estorick collection, tucked away in Highbury Fields in London, is internationally renowned for its collection of modern Italian art, with a core of major Futurist works. Its new temporary exhibition focuses on one of these Futurist...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Property Is No Longer a Theft

This is the Italian cinema Berlusconi suppressed. Elio Petri directed broadsides between the crossfire of the Sixties and Seventies’ Years of Lead, as fascists, communists and ill-defined fifth columns brought ideological violence to rock gigs and...

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Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

A lovely, scholarly and gently revelatory exhibition, Madonnas and Miracles explores a neglected area of the perennially popular and much-studied Italian Renaissance – the place of piety in the Renaissance home. We are used to admiring the great...

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