sat 29/02/2020

19th century

Hallé, Elder, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, review - fiery Beethoven tribute

Honouring Beethoven in Manchester is a united enterprise, at least between the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic, two symphony orchestras that have worked out a series of Beethoven specials between them. Last night’s Hallé concert even had two conductors...

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The Call of the Wild review - how big-hearted Buck became leader of the pack

Jack London’s original novel was a brutal and Darwinian account of a dog's life in the Klondike during the gold rush at the end of the 19th century. Chris Sanders’s film, on the other hand, with a screenplay by Michael Green, is a family-friendly...

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Luisa Miller, English National Opera review - Verdi in translation makes a stylish comeback

Those who booed the production team last night - there was nothing but generous cheering for singers, conductor and orchestra - might reflect that this was at least regietheater, that singular brand of not-all-bad director's opera in Germany, with...

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Darren Waterston: Filthy Lucre, V&A review - a timely look at the value of art

It looks as if vandals have ransacked Whistler's Peacock Room. The famous interior was commissioned in the 1870s by shipping magnate, Frederick Richard Leyland to show off his collection of fine porcelain. The specially designed shelves have...

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The Lighthouse review - shiver me timbers

A creepy lighthouse on a remote island, a blistering storm, a mermaid languishing on the shore and two fabulously bewhiskered actors chewing up the scenery like there’s no tomorrow. The Lighthouse feels like it’s been washed up in a bottle...

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The Personal History of David Copperfield review – top-drawer Dickens

Armando Iannucci’s move away from the contemporary political satires that made his name, first signalled by his bold, uproariously brilliant Death of Stalin, continues apace with a Dickens adaptation that feels quietly radical. It’s not just...

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Currie, Jordan, NCO, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - major marimba music

Finding one piece for marimba soloist and string orchestra would tax the powers of many concert planners, never mind coming up with two, so the Northern Chamber Orchestra is to be congratulated on its first Manchester performance of 2020 –...

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Nathalie Léger: Exposition review – mysteries, rumours and facts

Nathalie Léger’s superbly original Exposition is a biographical novel meditating on the nature of biography itself. Its plot – if indeed its 150 pages of intense reflection bordering continuously on stream of consciousness can be called a plot – is...

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A Christmas Carol, BBC One review – Dickens classic recast as gruelling horror story

If you came to this expecting to be reminded of such ghosts of Scrooges past as Alastair Sim or Bill Murray, you will have been reaching either for the brandy or the defibrillator. In the hands of screenwriter Steven Peaky Blinders Knight and...

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Bauer, CBSO, Koenig, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - Christoph pulls it off

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s programmes in Birmingham are so personal – so utterly bespoke – that in the event of her being indisposed, they present something of a problem. That’s what happened this week. The programme was vintage Gražinytė-Tyla –...

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Roméo et Juliette, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - surprisingly sober take on Berlioz epic

So much was fresh and exciting about Michael Tilson Thomas's years as the London Symphony Orchestra's Principal Conductor (1988-1995; I don't go as far back as his debut, the 50th anniversary of which is celebrated this season). Carved in the memory...

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Wallfisch, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - Weinberg UK premiere

Everyone’s doing Weinberg now, or so it seems. The Polish-born composer who became a close friend of Shostakovich was born 100 years ago, and there’s plenty of his music to go round. Raphael Wallfisch gave the UK premiere of his Cello...

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