mon 19/04/2021

1920s

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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Nicky Spence, Jess Dandy, Julius Drake, Wigmore Hall review – Moravian rhapsody

We don’t often see sultry come-to-bed moves in the Wigmore Hall, that chaste Parthenon of refined musical taste. But when Jess Dandy stretched out languidly on stage while offering to show Nicky Spence “how the gypsies sleep”, the temperature shot...

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The Great Gatsby, Immersive London review – a warm and electric tribute to the book

The Prohibition-era setting of The Great Gatsby brings an appropriately illicit feel to this bold decision to stage an immersive theatre event in the age of Covid. Where, in 1922, champagne was the essential liquid to get any evening going...

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Album: Loudon Wainwright III with Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks – I’d Rather Lead a Band

Those Wainwrights, they never cease to surprise. Get out your soft shoes and prepare to shuffle, for the “six-string diarist” has set his guitar aside and put on his metaphorical tux to croon with a band on more than a dozen timeless classics. Songs...

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BBC Proms live online: Viennese Night review - sophisticated pleasures

Viennese operetta is like that other great Central European treat, goulash. It comes in many forms. In Vienna it’s coffeehouse comfort food; in Slovenia they add bacon for a smoky tang. And in the marketplaces of Transylvania it comes in bubbling...

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