thu 26/11/2020

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Barney Harsent
Thursday, 26 November 2020
Gary Barlow’s Music Played By Humans is, in all but name, a Christmas album. Mixing big-band jazz, Latin and pop, it’s an assortment box of bubbly, broad-based business bangers...
Graham Fuller
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
Published in June 2016, J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy became a best-seller around the time of that November’s presidential election as people sought to understand why...
Harry Thorfinn-George
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
During the first lockdown in March, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong took the time to reflect “on the things that matter most in my life: family, friends and, of course, music.”...
Theartsdesk
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
The infamous border wall. Prolonged detention. Children in cages. Even as Biden's election promises a sea change in Trump's devastatingly hardline immigration policy, immigrants,...
Graham Fuller
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
Stylistically, Waxworks (1924) was the apogee of German Expressionist cinema in that it was the last pure distillation of the form, in which visual distortion, chiaroscuro,...
Jenny Gilbert
Monday, 23 November 2020
Theatres are currently banned from moving scenery and props about on stage and you might expect this to present a major obstacle to a production of The Seven Deadly Sins. How else...
David Nice
Monday, 23 November 2020
“After black and gloomy night, the sun shines all the brighter,” sings hero Ariodante after a life-threatening bout of...
Chen Reiss
Monday, 23 November 2020
I am not the first to say this, and I won’t be the last, but what a strange year 2020 has become! I am learning afresh what...
Peter Quinn
Monday, 23 November 2020
EDM bangers? Check. Melancholic ballads? Why certainly. Great vocal arrangements which switch from rap to angelic falsetto...
Tim Cumming
Sunday, 22 November 2020
There have been Felabrations, stage musicals, bands featuring his sons Seun and Femi that have continued the legacy. There...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 22 November 2020
 “During 1975, 1976 and the first half of 1977 punk was the future but, after the highpoint of ‘God Save the Queen’,...
Saskia Baron
Sunday, 22 November 2020
Director Claudia Weill’s landmark feature debut benefits from Criterion’s high quality re-issue, which was made possible...
David Nice
Saturday, 21 November 2020
It was Mahler as conductor who made the famous declaration that “Tradition ist Schlamperei” (sloppiness), or something along...
Paul Bullock
Saturday, 21 November 2020
Producing music programmes for TV with live performance during the past few months has not been without its challenges, but...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 21 November 2020
 Osvaldo Golijov: Falling Out of Time Silkroad Ensemble (In a Circle Records)Along with many others, I was beguiled by...
Liz Thomson
Saturday, 21 November 2020
I really wanted to like this album – indeed, from a short sample, I thought I would love it. But while there are indeed some...
Joseph Walsh
Friday, 20 November 2020
“Films are about the mystery of fate or the mystery of faith,” proclaims director William Friedkin in Alexandre O. Philippe’...
Alexandra Coghlan
Friday, 20 November 2020
It’s hard to remember that distant time back in March before we were all digital experts, when the idea of watching a live-...
Guy Oddy
Friday, 20 November 2020
It’s almost a truism in rock’n’roll that within every padded and bloated double album, there’s a fine single disc waiting to...
 

★★★★★ MÁ VLAST, CZECH PHILHARMONIC, BYCHKOV Smetana's epic in online wonder

EXTRACT: 'ON LONELINESS' BY FATIMAH ASGHAR One of 26 powerful essays on being made to feel other in today's America 

★★★★ BLU-RAY: WAXWORKS (1924) Paul Leni's German Expressionist horror comedy

★★★★ ARENA - FELA KUTI: FATHER OF AFROBEAT, BBC TWO Intimate and in-depth portrait of West Africa's great cultural icon

★★★★ THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS, OPERA NORTH Viscerally thrilling

★★★★ LEAP OF FAITH Feature-length interview with 'Exorcist' director William Friedkin

FIRST PERSON: SOPRANO CHEN REISS on the artist in a time of Coronavirus

disc of the day

Album: Gary Barlow - Music Played By Humans

The Take That frontman's latest is a tiresome cue-call for spontaneous fun

tv

Arena - Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat, BBC Two review - the music that never dies

Intimate and in-depth portrait of West Africa's great cultural icon

The Good Lord Bird, Sky Atlantic review - picaresque account of the myth of John Brown

Ethan Hawke leads an outlandish ride through American history

Offended by Irvine Welsh, Sky Arts review - are we seeing the end of free speech?

'Trainspotting' author examines the insidious march of cancel culture

film

Hillbilly Elegy review - misery in the heartland

Ron Howard's melodrama softens the message of a Trump-era memoir

Blu-ray: Waxworks (1924)

The sum is more than the parts of Paul Leni's German Expressionist horror comedy

Blu-ray: Girlfriends

A pioneering comedy-drama about two young women trying to make it in 1970s New York

new music

Album: Gary Barlow - Music Played By Humans

The Take That frontman's latest is a tiresome cue-call for spontaneous fun

Album: Billie Joe Armstrong - No Fun Mondays

The Green Day singer offers up his collection of lockdown cover versions

Album: BTS - Be

K-pop perfection from the South Korean septet

classical

Má Vlast, Czech Philharmonic, Bychkov online review – finest silk for Velvet Revolution anniversary concert

Smetana's national epic comes up fresh and meaningful in a miraculous online happening

Classical CDs Weekly: Osvaldo Golijov, Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams

A contemporary song cycle, romantic cello sonatas and an iconic 'masque for dancing'

opera

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production

Ariodante, Royal Opera online review – stylish, but confined

Accomplished ensemble tries its best to cross the footlights in livestream-only Handel

‘Our whole industry is supported by vulnerable freelance creators': Chen Reiss on the artist in a time of Coronavirus

The soprano, now on screen in the Royal Opera 'Ariodante', on recognition for performers

theatre

15 Heroines, Jermyn Street Theatre online review - putting the women back into Greek myth
Scorching adaptation of Ovid is a welcome theatrical respite from lockdown
Death of England: Delroy, National Theatre review - a furious if fleetingly seen sequel
Opening and closing night were the same for vital solo show
Little Wars, Union Theatre online review - richly emotional, but formulaic
Lillian Hellman meets a handful of other female greats in an imaginary dinner party

dance

The Seven Deadly Sins, Opera North online review - viscerally thrilling

Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's indictment of capitalism in a vibrant new production

The Royal Ballet: Live, Within the Golden Hour review - stunning, joyous dance

Setback? What setback? Restrictions seem to push this company to ever greater things

Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sadler's Wells review - onward and upward

Carlos Acosta sets out his stall as artistic director of BRB

Books

Extract: 'On Loneliness' by Fatimah Asghar, from 'The Good Immigrant USA'

One of 26 powerful essays on being made to feel other in today's America

Nicole Krauss: To Be a Man review - first short-story collection from the award-winning novelist

Love, complicity, the burden of the past: ten stories with a wide-ranging focus

Andrey Kurkov: Grey Bees review - light Ukrainian odyssey, with bite

Journey of a beekeeper lays bare the simultaneous severity and stupidity of conflict

visual arts

Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, Barbican Art Gallery review - mould-breaker, ground-shaker

A crash course in the life and times of an iconoclast and muse

Sin, National Gallery review - great subject, modest show

A small gathering can't do justice to this fabulous topic

latest comments

Yikes. I get that you don't like the synth-based...

One of the best rock interviews I've read in some...

Ronnie's is being screened on BBC Four...

Ugh. She's unbearable. Please, no.

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