thu 23/05/2019

18th century

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), Brighton Festival 2019 review - a feverishly foul-mouthed musical comedy

Five years ago this Kneehigh Theatre production caused a stir with its vibrant modern retelling of John Gay’s 18th century satirical classic, The Beggar’s Opera. It’s currently on tour again and it’s easy to see why a revival was greenlit. It’s a...

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Henry Moore at Houghton Hall: Nature and Inspiration review - big views bring new light

Placed in a long and artfully Arcadian vista, earthy bronze subdued against verdant grass and trees, the restless form of Henry Moore’s Two Piece Reclining Figure: Cut, 1979-81 (Main picture), both disrupts and is absorbed by its surroundings. A...

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Semele, Monteverdi Choir, EBS, Gardiner, Alexandra Palace review - Handel's cornucopia lavishly served

Louise Alder, lyric soprano of the moment and vivacity incarnate, had yet to be born when John Eliot Gardiner made his first recording of Handel's Semele with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in 1981. Now they all come together to...

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The Glass Piano, Print Room at The Coronet review – fascinating story undermined by absurdism

Often the greatest works of dramatic absurdism spring from the worst extremes of human experience, whether it’s Ionesco’s Rhinoceros responding to fascism, or Havel’s The Garden Party satirising the irrational cruelties of Prague’s Soviet occupiers...

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St Matthew Passion, Ex Cathedra, Skidmore, Symphony Hall Birmingham - powerful, poignant Bach

For the final instalment of their three Matthew Passions this Holy Week, Ex Cathedra gave a large scale performance of Bach’s oratorio in their home town on Birmingham, after dates with lesser forces in London and Bristol. With an augmented...

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In the spirit of the composer as innovator: Samir Savant on the London Handel Festival

This is my third year as festival director of the London Handel Festival, an annual celebration of the life and work of composer George Frideric Handel, which takes place every spring in venues across the capital. Our core charitable and artistic...

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Bach St John Passion, Les Arts Florissants, Christie, Barbican review – sombre but engaging

William Christie kicked off Passion season in London this year with a particularly sombre reading of the St John. The veteran conductor brought his French choir and orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, and a line-up of relatively young soloists to the...

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Bach B minor Mass, BBCSO, Butt, Barbican review - large-scale losses and a few gains

Practitioners of musical authenticity and scholarly research, so guarded and protective of their territory in the early days, now like to spread the love around. So if an amateur choir of 100-plus like the BBC Symphony Chorus, celebrating its 90th...

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'Bringing things to life is what opera is all about': Robert Howarth on a 'Magic Flute' with a difference

I’m here in Leeds at the end of five weeks of quite intense rehearsals for Opera North's new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Our director James Brining and his amazing team (including assistant director Deborah Cohen, set and costume...

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The Favourite review - scintillatingly warped portrait of the court of Queen Anne

It can be fascinating to see ourselves as others see us. In this case, Athens-born director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster) brings his acute eye to the English country-house period drama in a scintillatingly warped...

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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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Federico Colli, Wigmore Hall review – poised on the edge of the possible

The Italian pianist Federico Colli, 30, best known so far as winner of the 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition, last night arrived for his Wigmore Hall debut sporting an emerald-green cravat, but the sonic colours he magicked out of the piano...

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