tue 26/10/2021

1920s

Die ägyptische Helena, Fulham Opera review - mythological mess impressively handled

So Helen of Troy arrives at a church in Fulham via Poseidon’s island palace and a pavilion at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. She’s trickier than ever in the golden but tangled web Richard Strauss and his myth-and-symbol-mad poet Hugo von...

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Album: David Crosby - For Free

David Crosby hit the headlines a few months back, another artist selling his song catalogue in order to secure his house. These days musicians must stay on the road to earn a living and sell records. It’s a punishing life, even for the young and fit...

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The Pursuit of Love, BBC One review - extravagantly entertaining

Nancy Mitford's 1945 literary sensation looks poised to be the TV talking point of the season, assuming the first episode of The Pursuit of Love sustains its utterly infectious energy through two hours still to come. Adapted and directed by the...

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Psappha, Phillips, Hallé St Peter’s, Manchester online review - Turnage world premiere

Manchester’s Psappha have been proudly flying the flag of new and radical music right through the year of lockdown, and last night’s livestream, with two-and-a-half world premieres, one of them by Mark-Anthony Turnage, showed they haven’t given up...

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Die tote Stadt, Komische Oper Berlin, OperaVision review – when catharsis goes missing

A word about grief. Many of us have learned a lot about it this past year; many knew about it before that. When someone we love dies, we grieve. This is normal. This is human. It is agony, but it’s not actually a mental illness. Having Paul, the...

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Jackie Kay: Bessie Smith review – vivid writing about the Empress of the Blues

Blues singer Bessie Smith (1894-1937) had much more than an astonishingly powerful voice. It may already be almost a hundred years since she made her most significant recordings – she is from an era before amplification –  and yet her unfailing...

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Blu-ray: The Last Warning

Stuttgart-born auteur and film theoretician Paul Leni, whose illusionistic production designs and direction of Waxworks (1924) helped define German Expressionist cinema, was 44 and approaching master status when he died of sepsis on 2 September...

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Bevan, LPO, Jurowski, RFH online review – never-ending stories

The LPO, and its soon-to-depart chief conductor Vladimir Jurowski, began its 2020 Vision season back in February. It set out to mix and match the music of three centuries and show how it echoes in contemporary works. Well, little of that turned out...

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Roald and Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse, Sky One review – twinkly tale for troubled times

They say "never meet your heroes". That may be true, but it forms the premise of a new TV drama concerning two of the world’s most famous children’s authors – Beatrix Potter and Roald Dahl – who encounter each other at opposite ends of their life....

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom review - keeping things theatrical

There was always bound to be a hint of melancholy watching George Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Try as you might to focus on the film, you can never quite shake the fact that you’re watching the final performance of Chadwick Boseman, whose life...

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L'enfant et les sortilèges, VOPERA, LPO, Reynolds online – Ravel and Colette reimagined

Colette’s sharply fantastical libretto for Ravel’s second one-act opera imagines wrongs exercised upon objects and animals by a naughty child revisited by the victims upon the perpetrator. In a giddying venture which may be the most imaginative use...

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Kanneh-Mason, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla online review - muted celebrations

“This year was supposed to be so very different” said Stephen Maddock, Chief Executive of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra when he spoke to theartsdesk earlier this year. Talk about an understatement. The CBSO has hardly been alone in...

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