thu 13/12/2018

19th century

The Nutcracker, Royal Ballet review - a still-magical tale of two couples

Once a year is never too often to revisit one of the most perfect of all orchestral scores (not just for the ballet), a climactic Russian Imperial Pas de deux and the old-fashioned magic of illusionist painted flats flying in and out across a...

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Death and Nightingales, BBC Two, review - slow, lyrical, slightly dull

And now for something completely different from The Fall. The nerve-shredding drama from Northern Ireland was written by Allan Cubitt and featured, as its resident psychopathic hottie, Jamie Dornan (pictured below). It seems the two couldn’t get...

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Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain review - time for a rethink?

When, in 1853, Edward Burne-Jones (or Edward Jones as he then was) went up to Exeter College, Oxford, it could hardly have been expected that the course of his life would change so radically. His mother having died in childbirth, he was brought up...

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Peterloo review - Mike Leigh's angry historical drama

Considering how the UK prides itself on having created the "Mother of Parliaments" and its citizens having once chopped off a king's head for thwarting its will, remarkably little is taught in our schools about one of the seminal events on the way...

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Red Dead Redemption 2 review - the cowboy drama makes a triumphant return

Realistic open world games need the little touches to convince you of the reality within which you play. Perhaps it’s your character’s beard that grows a little more each day, maybe it’s the way mud builds up on his boots during wet weather, or how...

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A Very Very Very Dark Matter, Bridge Theatre review - black comedy falls flat

It's all in the title, isn't it? Martin McDonagh's surreal new play comes with a warning that not only screams its intentions, but echoes them through repetition. Okay, okay, I get it. This is going to be a dark story, a very very very dark story....

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Verdi's Requiem, Royal Opera, Pappano review - all that heaven allows

Here it comes - get a grip. The tears have started flowing in the trio "Quid sum miser" and 12 minutes later, as the tenor embarks on his "Ingemisco" solo, you have to stop the shakes turning into noisy sobbing. The composer then lets you off the...

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theartsdesk in Stockholm: the Birgit Nilsson Prize unites two great Wagnerian sopranos

Why are great Wagnerian singers the most down-to-earth and collegial in the world of opera? Perhaps you have to be to master and sustain the biggest roles in the business, ones which can't be performed in isolation, and a strong constitution helps,...

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CBSO, Leleux, Birmingham Town Hall review - oboe extraordinaire

There’s always a special atmosphere when the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra returns to Birmingham Town Hall, and it’s not just because of the building’s Greek Revival beauty: the gilded sunburst on the ceiling, or the towering, intricately...

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Opolais, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Nelsons, RFH review - splendid and awful stretches

Latvia is fighting fit. The recent elections did not see the expected victory for the pro-Kremlin Harmony party; support for the European Union and NATO will be well represented. Last week the feisty Lavtian Ambassador to the UK, Baiba Braže, landed...

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BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - new conductor’s debut

Two days after announcing his appointment as their next chief conductor (he takes the reins officially next summer, in time for the Proms), by remarkable good fortune the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic was able to present Omer Meir Wellber as the...

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Montserrat Caballé (1933-2018): from Bellini to 'Barcelona'

Her special claim to fame was the most luminous pianissimo in the business, but that often went hand in velvet glove with fabulous breath control and a peerless sense of bel canto line. To know Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch...

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