fri 24/05/2019

17th century

First Person: Liam Byrne on bringing Versailles to the City's 'Culture Mile'

When you dedicate your life to studying and performing on a musical instrument that essentially went extinct at the end of the 18th century, nostalgia plays a certain unavoidable role in your daily routine. I don't mean fetishistic historicism - I'm...

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Looking for Rembrandt, BBC Four review - painter's biog is a mini-masterpiece

This final episode of BBC Four's Looking for Rembrandt, exploring the life and work of the Netherlands’ greatest painter, was a mini-masterpiece in itself. We rejoined the story in the mid-1650s, when Rembrandt found that his days of popular acclaim...

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Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now, Gagosian Gallery review - old master, new ways

What are we to make of the two circles dustily inscribed in the background of Rembrandt’s c.1665 self-portrait? In a painting that bears the fruits of a life’s experience, drawn freehand, they might be a display of artistic virtuosity, or – more...

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The Crucible, The Yard Theatre review - wilfully over-stirred

The Crucible is a play that speaks with unrelenting power at times of discord, most of all when the public consciousness looks ripe for manipulation. Never more appropriate than now, you might think – and in a year in which the work of Arthur Miller...

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All Is True review - all's well doesn't end well in limp Shakespeare biopic

All may be true but not much is of interest in this Kenneth Branagh-directed film that casts an actor long-steeped in the Bard as a gardening-minded Shakespeare glimpsed in (lushly filmed) retirement. Seemingly conceived in order to persuade...

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The Double Dealer, Orange Tree Theatre review - high spirits and low morals

It's been 40 years since The Double Dealer last had a major airing (indeed, perhaps any airing) in London, so on the basis of novelty value alone, the Orange Tree's end-of-year offering is worth our attention. But as always with Restoration comedy,...

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Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe review - sexually-charged production draws power from the shadows

Macbeth has rarely seemed quite as metrosexual as in this gorgeous shadow-painted production that marks Globe artistic director Michelle Terry’s first production in the Sam Wanamaker theatre. Even in a play that walks the tightrope between its...

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Don Quixote rides again, and again

It’s a story of a mad old man who imagines himself to be a knight errant. On his quests he sees virgins in prostitutes and castles in roadside inns. His adventures have spawned an adjective that describes delusional idealism, typified by the...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Josquin, Calidore String Quartet, Ronn McFarlane

 Josquin: Missa Gaudeamus, Missa L’ami Baudichon The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips (Gimell)That music composed in the 14th and 15th centuries can be enjoyed and performed today is mind-boggling. As is looking at one of Josquin des Préz’s...

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Eyam, Shakespeare's Globe review - plague drama, dark and loose

The end-of-season contemporary writing slot at the Globe must be a proposal as full of promise for playwrights as it is perhaps intimidating. There’s the sheer scale of the space and the chance to write for a large cast; a historical subject seems...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Louis Couperin, Pärt, Bruce Levingston

 Louis Couperin: Dances from the Bauyn Manuscript Pavel Kolesnikov (Hyperion)We’ll get the entertaining trivia out of the way first, namely that the musical Couperin dynasty came from Chaumes-en-Brie. I’m struggling to think of another example...

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King Lear, Duke of York's Theatre, review - towering Ian McKellen

Jonathan Munby's production starring Ian McKellen, first seen last year in Chichester and now transferred to the West End, reflects our everyday anxieties, emphasising in the world of a Trump presidency, the dangers of childish, petulant...

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