wed 23/06/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Kieron Tyler
Wednesday, 23 June 2021
While recognisably a John Grant album, Boy From Michigan brings on board something new and unprecedented – an outside producer. Welcome, Cate Le Bon. Among her previous production...
Adam Sweeting
Tuesday, 22 June 2021
It’s not easy to sum up Physical in a pithy soundbite, though “quasi-political misanthropic comedy” might be vaguely in the right ballpark. It’s set in San Diego, California in...
Daniel Baksi
Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Rounding out a decade of personal success – beginning with his Cannes Jury Prize-winning The Puppetmaster (1993), followed by a best director award for Good Men,...
David Nice
Monday, 21 June 2021
A massive musical hope for the future is what we all need right now, after 14 stop/semi-start months and a threatened decimation of the concert and opera scene, the danger of...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 21 June 2021
With a third wave of Covid-19 being widely predicted in the media and the UK live music scene still not back on its feet after the last one, audiences must take their gigs however...
David Nice
Monday, 21 June 2021
All 15 of Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas deserve to be seen and heard live at least once, though not all of them need staging. Veteran director David Pountney’s bold choice for Grange...
Tim Cumming
Monday, 21 June 2021
Hailing from Benin and based in Paris since she was 23, Angélique Kidjo can sing in five languages, has collaborated...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 20 June 2021
Dungen’s October 2005 appearance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien was incongruous. Here was a Swedish band on an independent...
Jenny Gilbert
Saturday, 19 June 2021
“A tonic to the nation”. That was the hoped-for effect of the Festival of Britain in 1951, and its concrete legacy was the...
Roxanna Panufnik
Saturday, 19 June 2021
A month ago, I sat in St Martin-in-the Fields listening to London Mozart Players recording my orchestral version of Letters...
Veronica Lee
Saturday, 19 June 2021
What to make of Jimmy Carr? He’s a fantastic gag writer and experienced stand-up who has made a hugely successful career on...
Robert Beale
Saturday, 19 June 2021
Tabita Berglund is that rare species, an up-and-coming orchestral conductor attracting enough attention to secure repeated...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 19 June 2021
 One Movement Symphonies: Music by Barber, Scriabin and Sibelius Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern (Reference...
Barney Harsent
Saturday, 19 June 2021
The first release that brought folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience to prominence outside of their native Norway was their Live...
Matt Wolf
Friday, 18 June 2021
The general uptick of late in film versions of stage musical hits continues apace with In the Heights, which, to my mind...
David Nice
Friday, 18 June 2021
Just when you thought you couldn’t take any more one- or two-handers, online or in the theatre, along comes the supreme...
David Nice
Friday, 18 June 2021
Whatever else happens on the country opera scene this summer, the golden rose award for sheer chutzpah goes to the ever-...
Joseph Walsh
Friday, 18 June 2021
Back in 2017, a non-speaking autistic teen, Naoki Higashida wrote and published The Reason I Jump. He hoped it would offer...
Thomas H Green
Friday, 18 June 2021
Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep has been five years coming. It’s only a mini-album but is spiced with a range of guests, and...

★★★★ FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI Taiwanese director Hsiao-hsien at his most dazzling

★★★★ SOLSTICE, ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET, RFH A grand summer picnic at the Southbank Centre

★★★★★ BBC CARDIFF SINGER OF THE WORLD 2021 FINAL An embarrassment of vocal riches



★★★★ HAPPY DAYS, RIVERSIDE STUDIOS Memory, madness and melancholy

★★★ PHYSICAL, APPLE TV+ Dark comedy which could have been called 'never trust a hippy'

disc of the day

Album: John Grant - Boy From Michigan

Ruminative fifth album from the prickly singer-songwriter


Physical, Apple TV+ review - too much pain, not enough gain

Dark comedy which could have been called 'never trust a hippy'

BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 Final, BBC Four review – an embarrassment of vocal riches

This year’s choice wasn’t easy – but Korean baritone Gihoon Kim deserved the prize

Loki, Disney+ review - the God of Mischief gets his own TV series

Wacky time-bending adventures with Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson


Blu-ray: Flowers of Shanghai

Hsiao-hsien's period piece is the director at his most dazzling

In the Heights review - to life, Lin-Manuel Miranda-style

2008 Tony winning musical transfers joyously to the screen

The Reason I Jump review - compelling and controversial

Director Jerry Rothwell explores the lives of four non-speaking autistic people

new music

Album: John Grant - Boy From Michigan

Ruminative fifth album from the prickly singer-songwriter

Young Pilgrims, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review – raucous jazz rockers whip up a storm

Richard Foote’s brassy gang lift the roof for their home crowd

Album: Angélique Kidjo - Mother Nature

The Grammy winner's album of new songs for a new Africa


First Person: Roxanna Panufnik on a new version of her 'Letters from Burma' in aid of Myanmar refugees

The composer on why she expanded a chamber piece for London Mozart Players

Hallé, Berglund, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - taking Beethoven seriously

A young conductor brings confidence and maturity to the fore

Classical CDs: Bassoons, brass and symphonic compression

20th century symphonies, romantic chamber music and some ingenious brass transcriptions


BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 Final, BBC Four review – an embarrassment of vocal riches

This year’s choice wasn’t easy – but Korean baritone Gihoon Kim deserved the prize

Ivan the Terrible, Grange Park Opera review - from tsar to Stalin in five lopsided scenes

David Pountney's fusion of two Rimsky-Korsakov cod-history lessons leaps the centuries

Der Rosenkavalier, Garsington Opera review - musical marvels, drama less often fulfilled

Classy singing, conducting and playing, directorial holes in bold shot at rococo Strauss


Happy Days, Riverside Studios review - memory, madness and melancholy
Lisa Dwan’s infinite variety guides us through Beckett’s timeless masterpiece
After Life, National Theatre review - thanks for the memories
Intriguing, inventive play from Jack Thorne and Headlong
Extract: David Lan's As If By Chance
Adventures in Palestine from the memoir of the former artistic director of the Young Vic


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

A grand summer picnic at the Southbank Centre

British Ballet Charity Gala, Royal Albert Hall review - a celebration of sorts

Darcey Bussell rallies all eight UK major dance companies to fete their survival

Balanchine and Robbins, The Royal Ballet review - style and substance

A dazzling company tribute to America's two greatest choreographers


Danielle Evans: The Office of Historical Corrections review - what happens when history comes knocking

Short fiction that summons the past to put the present to the test

Anna Neima: The Utopians review – after horror, six quests for the good life

A timely exploration of post-Great War bids to build heaven on earth

Victoria Mas: The Mad Women's Ball review - compelling plot meets disquieting history

Reimagining the lives of the women incarcerated in the Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière

visual arts

Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours, Ashmolean Museum review - a rich array

Some of Britain's most popular artists highlight the importance and beauty of drawing

The Making of Rodin, Tate Modern review - surrealist tendencies

The sculptor is recast as a proto-modernist in a show focused on works in plaster

latest comments

Make fun of it..but I've never seen better...

I apologise unreservedly for wrongly naming the...

Thanks. This is the problem of trusting the...

Principal viola on the night was Richard Waters

The conductor for the evening was Paul Murphy;...

What I feel Mr Bell needs to understand is that...

How does this work? Good question. "Velvet...

Oh Dear!! I cannot but feel rather sorry for...


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