fri 03/04/2020

18th century

Le nozze di Figaro, Garsington Opera, OperaVision review - natural comedy, musical sublimity

Only the birds will be singing at country opera houses around the UK this summer. Glyndebourne seems over-optimistic in declaring that it might be able to launch in July; other companies with shorter seasons have made the regretful but right...

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The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera review - energised attitudes, lower-level humanism

So Susanna and Figaro got married on Saturday, just before the entire Almaviva household and its home, the London Coliseum, went into quarantine. Let's at least celebrate the fact that these splendid singer-actors, with youth especially on the five...

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Susanna, Royal Opera/London Handel Festival review - fitful shinings

That virtue can be fascinating and prayers to a just God dramatic have been proved in riveting productions of two late Handel oratorios, Theodora and Jephtha. Whether Susanna can ever be reclaimed for the stage as powerfully seems unlikely, but this...

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United Queendom, Kensington Palace review - rollicking royal tale

Les Enfants Terribles is the theatre company behind several interesting immersive projects, including Alice's Adventures Underground and Inside Pussy Riot. Now it has joined forces with Historic Royal Palaces to tell the story of two women integral...

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire review – love unshackled

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is windblown, spare, taut, and sensual – a haunted seaside romantic drama, set in the 18th century, that makes most recent films and series dressed in period costumes seem like party-line effusions of empty style and...

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Beethoven Weekender, Barbican review - genius at work and play

Where to begin with the most appropriated musician in history? The Barbican’s Beethoven 250 celebrations got off to an auspicious start with a weekend of events, styled like a pop festival, which nonetheless put the composer back where he belonged...

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Clarke, Ränzlöv, The Mozartists, Page, Wigmore Hall - young Mozart among the giants

Assuming the world holds together that long, there will be something we can rely on annually all the way to 2041, the 250th anniversary of Mozart's death: among the celebrations each year, a Wigmore Hall concert like this one, placing Amadeus among...

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Mrs Peachum's Guide to Love and Marriage, Mid Wales Opera review - scaled down seediness, with a swing

The Beggar’s Opera: does any piece of music theatre promise more fun and deliver more tedium? Yes, it was the satirical smash of 1728; yes, it inspired Brecht and Weill; yes, with its combination of popular melodies and a topical script it was...

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George Stubbs: 'all done from Nature', MK Gallery review - a glorious menagerie

Artist George Stubbs liked horses. The MK Gallery’s exhibition “all done from Nature” will try to convince you that he also cared about people. He did, to an extent; the commissions came that way. But about half way through the exhibition, the...

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Hogarth: Place and Progress, Sir John Soane’s Museum review - state of the nation

Of the British, the English have a reputation for satire. They’re also prone to stupidity. The combination of biting morality and excoriating wit required to deride this tendency reached notable heights in the work of engraver and painter William...

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William Blake, Tate Britain - sympathy for the rebel

Poor Satan. Adam and Eve are loved-up, snogging on a flowery hillock and all he’s got for company is a snake — an extension of himself no less, and where’s the fun in monologues? Poor, poor Satan. He’s a hunk too, if you don’t mind blue. Coiffed...

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Bavouzet, Manchester Camerata, Takács-Nagy, Stoller Hall, Manchester, review - concertos as opera

Manchester Camerata’s series of in-concert recordings featuring Mozart piano concertos with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is well under way now, and this programme, like others before it, included a couple of his opera overtures too. Why so? "Because all...

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