wed 22/11/2017

Paris

DVD: The Death of Louis XIV

Albert Serra has earned himself the directorial moniker “the Catalan king of stasis”, and nothing in The Death of Louis XIV is going to dispel such a reputation – if anything, he has honed that characteristic approach further, concentrating this...

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In search of Proust's 'Vinteuil Sonata': violinist Maria Milstein on the writer's musical mystery

I remember very well the first time I read Swann’s Way, the first part of Marcel Proust’s monumental masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu). I was struck not only by the depth and beauty of the novel, but also the...

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Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery review - eye-opening and heart-breaking

Some 50 portraits by Paul Cézanne – almost a third of all those the artist painted that have survived – are on view in this quietly sensational exhibition. Eye-opening and heart-breaking, it examines his art exclusively in the context of his...

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Marcel Proust: Letters to the Lady Upstairs - a very slim volume

Marcel Proust was a prolific letter-writer. He wrote tens of thousands of them, and at speed, as can be seen from the two facsimiles which are included with the text of Letters to the Lady Upstairs (there are quite a few more in the original French...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Belle de Jour

In the most famous scene in Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour, Catherine Deneuve’s resplendently blonde Séverine fantasises being tied to the wooden frame of a crude outdoor eating space. There she is pelted with mud by her surgeon husband Pierre (Jean...

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The Lie, Menier Chocolate Factory review - fake news, real feeling

A year after premiering acclaimed French playwright Florian Zeller’s The Truth, the Menier Chocolate Factory now hosts The Lie – which, as the name suggests, acts as a companion piece of sorts. Once again, we’re in a slippery Pinteresque realm...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Guy Johnston, Joyce El-Khoury, Michael Spyres, The Chanteuse

Guy Johnston: Tecchler’s Cello - From Cambridge to Rome (King’s College Cambridge)Acquiring a second-hand instrument always leads one to wonder what sort of a life it led before. Did said instrument enjoy a flourishing professional career, or was it...

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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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'Making it new' - Blake Morrison on adaptation, and how his new play came to life

Is there anything more terrifying for a playwright than the first day of rehearsals? For months, even years, you’ve been working and reworking the text, saying the words aloud to yourself in an empty room and imagining the actors saying them to a...

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The Blinding Light, Jermyn Street Theatre, review – Jasper Britton is fascinatingly febrile

Anyone who likes playing “Spot the weirdo” will find themselves instantly at home in Howard Brenton’s new play, which has its world premiere in this West End fringe venue, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus. Its subject is Swedish playwright and...

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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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DVD/Blu-ray: Touchez Pas au Grisbi

Jean Gabin’s gangster’s paradise says more about him than the bullets he later lets fly. France’s greatest male star made a barnstorming comeback to pre-eminence as sharp-suited, drolly masterful Max in Jacques Becker’s Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954...

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