mon 02/08/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

David Nice
Monday, 02 August 2021
“Time-travelling” is how Enrique Mazzola, the superb first conductor of Glyndebourne’s last new production of the main season, described the slow-burn trajectory of Verdi’s semi-...
Aleks Sierz
Monday, 02 August 2021
The Young Vic, led by the inspiring figure of Kwame Kwei-Armah, is back. After a prolonged closure, during which this venue has passionately continued to work with young directors...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 02 August 2021
Some people perfected their banana loaf or sourdough bread during lockdown. Others tried to learn a new language or how to play an instrument. Bo Burnham produced this masterpiece...
Miranda Heggie
Monday, 02 August 2021
In its 40th anniversary year, the Ryedale Festival once again brought live music of the highest quality to the beautiful villages and venues of the Yorkshire Moors. Reinvented for...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 02 August 2021
Despite being renowned for a somewhat fluid membership since their formation in 2000, it would seem that Liars has now become the solo concern of its only constant member, Angus...
Stephen Walsh
Sunday, 01 August 2021
There are advantages and disadvantages about opera-in-the-round, and it’s a format that suits some operas better than others. Longborough’s Cunning Little Vixen, staged by Olivia...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 01 August 2021
Anyone in San Francisco on 15 and 16 June 1968 would have had a tough choice if they wanted to see live music. On Saturday...
David Nice
Saturday, 31 July 2021
Did absence from Albert’s colosseum from early September 2019 until now and a roof-raising finale hoodwink many of us into...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 31 July 2021
How lovely it must be to direct a documentary about your favourite musicians and have no one stop you from cramming in...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 31 July 2021
 Riccardo Muti – The Complete Warner Symphonic Recordings (Warner Classics)As with Warner Classics’s recent André...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 31 July 2021
Displacement looms large over every quietly impressive frame of Limbo, writer-director Ben Sharrock's magnetic film about a...
Tim Cumming
Saturday, 31 July 2021
The folk world is slowly coming out of its long pandemic slumber, with Sidmouth’s month-long festival starting in the midst...
Enrique Mazzola
Friday, 30 July 2021
It is difficult to know why some operas succeed while others remain unknown. The reasons can be emotional or historical, or...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 30 July 2021
A gorgeous song exists in search of a show to match over at Bagdad Café, the 1987 film that gave the world the...
Stephen Walsh
Thursday, 29 July 2021
King Arthur, as every schoolgirl knows, never actually existed, so it made perfect sense that the Gabrieli Consort’s...
Aleks Sierz
Thursday, 29 July 2021
Before seeing this play, I decided to eat a steak. It seemed the right culinary equivalent to David Mamet, one of America’s...
Kieron Tyler
Thursday, 29 July 2021
Already Dead’s opening cut is titled “Youth on a Spit”. As it unfolds, Willy Mason declares “I feel no pain I’ve already...
Sarah Kent
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
The Most Beautiful Boy in the World is the most harrowing film you are ever likely to watch, but don’t let that put you off...
David Nice
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Now that the summer opera-house companies have pulled off staged triumphs under the most difficult of circumstances, it’s...

TIM BUCKLEY - MERRY-GO-ROUND AT THE CAROUSEL First-ever release of San Francisco live shows from 1968

★★★★★ THE SPARKS BROTHERS Edgar Wright's love letter to pop

★★★★ THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, LONGBOROUGH FESTIVAL OPERA Engagingly directed and sung, orchestrally problematic

ENRIQUE MAZZOLA The conductor on Verdi's time-travelling 'Luisa Miller', coming to Glyndebourne

★★★★★ FIRST NIGHT OF THE PROMS Levitational ecstasies from Dalia Stasevska and BBCSO

★★★★ OLEANNA, ARTS THEATRE Mamet on power and tragedy

disc of the day

Album: Liars - The Apple Drop

One time New York neo-punkers get trippy


The Sparks Brothers review - giddy celebration of the Mael brothers

Edgar Wright takes a break from directing actors to craft a love letter to pop

Limbo review - quiet but voluble

Story of a Syrian in Scotland packs a gentle wallop

new music

Album: Liars - The Apple Drop

One time New York neo-punkers get trippy

Reissue CDs Weekly: Tim Buckley - Merry-Go-Round at the Carousel

Essential first-ever release of previously unheard live shows from 1968

Album: Katherine Priddy - The Eternal Rocks Beneath

It's time to welcome an original and compelling new voice in British folk music


theartsdesk at the Ryedale Festival 2021 - music returns to the moors

A host of musical delights in the Yorkshire countryside

First Night of the Proms, Hyde, BBCSO, Stasevska review - levitational ecstasies

Finn floats and ignites a well conceived programme back in the Royal Albert Hall

Classical CDs: Big boxes, Russian ballets, wind concertos and baroque sonatas

Box sets celebrating Italian conductors, plus a pair of contrasting piano discs and 20th century wind music


Luisa Miller, Glyndebourne review – small-scale tragedy, big emotions

Bold casting includes a sensational main-season debut from soprano Mané Galoyan

The Cunning Little Vixen, Longborough Festival Opera review - life, death and the menopause in the forest

Janáček's strip cartoon engagingly directed and sung, orchestrally problematic

First Person: conductor Enrique Mazzola on Verdi's time-travelling 'Luisa Miller'

Notes from the musician who knows Glyndebourne's last main-season production best


Changing Destiny, Young Vic review – an epic literary discovery
A 4,000-year-old poem reopens this venue, but is more educational than dramatic
Bagdad Café, Old Vic review - sweet but scattershot
Stage adaptation of 1987 film needs more narrative drive
Oleanna, Arts Theatre review - Mamet on power and tragedy
David Mamet’s most controversial play retains its explosive charge


Beauty Mixed Programme, Royal Ballet review - no dancers? No problem

The company's 90th anniversary celebration triumphs over setbacks

theartsdesk Q&A: choreographer Christopher Scott

The creator of the sizzling dance scenes for 'In The Heights' on how they came about

Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

A grand summer picnic at the Southbank Centre


10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Assaying 'Heaven' - the Japanese writer on childhood, vulnerability, and violence as a complement to beauty

Samantha Walton: Everybody Needs Beauty review - the well of the world

Can a person be healthy if their environment is not?

Test Signal: Northern Anthology of New Writing review – core writing from England's regions

A rich cross-section of new and northern writing to right the wrongs of regional imbalance

visual arts

Karla Black, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh review - airy free-for-all

A retrospective of the abstract sculptor highlights her idiosyncracies

Ben Nicholson: From the Studio, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester review - domestic bliss

Still life takes the foreground in a long-awaited survey of the painter's career

latest comments

Having come across their series . I loved it...

It tediously casts Jewish Dianna Agron as a non-...


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters