tue 29/09/2020

18th century

The Old Guard review - serious silliness

It’s hard to take The Old Guard seriously — it’s an action film about thousand-year-old immortal warriors. Pulpy flashbacks and fake blood abounds. But The Old Guard doesn’t need to be serious or even memorable: it’s a fun, feel-good film, a rare...

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Hamilton, Disney+ review - puts us all in the room where it happened

The movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights was meant to hit cinemas this summer, but, in response to Covid-19, has been put back to 2021. Instead, we get the early release on Disney+ of Miranda’s Hamilton – filmed, NT Live style,...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a story of impossible love between two young women, takes place in the 18th century, on a wind-swept, wave-battered island off the coast of Brittany. The writer and director Céline Sciamma, who established herself as a...

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Don Giovanni/Sibelius plus, Swedish RSO, Harding, livestream review - dark studio rituals

"Touch her and you die," sings Masetto in telling Don Giovanni to keep away from his Zerlina. There's certainly trouble, though not instant death, when fingers briefly meet. Mozart's dark comedy has much in Da Ponte's text about hands-on business...

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The music of isolation: conductor Ian Page on 18th century 'Sturm und Drang'

My latest recording with The Mozartists is the first in a seven-volume series [reviewed by Graham Rickson in his Classical CDs Weekly column] exploring the so-called “Sturm und Drang” (literally translated, “storm and stress”) movement that swept...

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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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