fri 22/02/2019

19th century

DVD/Blu-ray: Dawson City - Frozen Time

Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time is an intoxicating cinematic collage-compilation that embraces social history – in microcosm, via its story of the titular Canadian mining town – as well as the history of film itself. But it goes further,...

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Elīna Garanča, Malcolm Martineau, Wigmore Hall review - towards transcendence

It seems an almost indecent luxury to have heard two top mezzos in just over a week with so much to express, backed up by the perfect technique and instrument with which to do so. Georgian Anita Rachvelishvili with Pappano and the Royal Opera...

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La Damnation de Faust, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - 'concert opera' indeed

Berlioz called it a "concert opera". His telling of the Faust story is in scenes and highly theatrical, but a bit of a challenge to put on in the theatre, with its marching armies, floating sylphs, dancing will-o’-the-wisps and galloping horses. It...

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Les Misérables, BBC One, series finale review - more moving than revealing

It took the best part of six episodes, but we got there in the end: the reason David Oyelowo accepted the confusingly underwritten part of Inspector Javert in BBC One’s adaptation of Les Misérables was finally revealed. His pursuit of an ex-convict...

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Hadelich, CBSO, Măcelaru, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - industrial strength Vaughan Williams

Well, I didn’t expect that – and judging from the way the rest of the audience reacted, nor did anyone else. After Cristian Măcelaru slammed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra full speed into the final chord of Vaughan Williams’s Fourth...

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Die Walküre, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - love shines out

Harpers on the undeniably offensive aspect of Wagner the man might question attending a concert performance of his second Ring opera on World Holocaust Day. Fortunately there's nothing anti-semitic to be found anywhere in Die Walküre. As embodied by...

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Hough, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - film music flows

No one worried about melting icecaps and homeless penguins when Vaughan Williams wrote his score for the film Scott of the Antarctic around 70 years ago. (They do now, as a new music theatre piece by Laura Bowler to be premiered by Manchester...

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The Queen of Spades, Royal Opera review - uneven cast prey to overthought concept

Prince Yeletsky, one of the shortest roles for a principal baritone in opera but with the loveliest of arias, looms large in Stefan Herheim's concept of The Queen of Spades. Not so much as a name in Pushkin's perfect short story of 1834, a mere...

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Colette review - Keira Knightley thrives in Paris

In a telling scene midway through Colette, our lead is told that rather than get used to marriage, it is “better to make marriage get used to you.” In this retelling of the remarkable Colette’s rise, it is evident she did much more than that; by the...

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Les Misérables, BBC One review - Dominic West looks the part in new Victor Hugo adaptation

There’s no singing, no Hugh Jackman and no Anne Hathaway, and the dolorous tone of Andrew Davies’s new adaptation of Victor Hugo’s sprawling novel is established in the opening scene. It’s the aftermath of the battle of Waterloo in 1815, and the...

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L'enfance du Christ, BBCSO, Gardner, Barbican review - Berlioz's kindest wonder

Like the fountains that sprang up in the desert during the Holy Family's flight into Egypt - according to a charming episode in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew - Berlioz's new-found creativity in the 1850s flowed from a couple of bars of organ music he...

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Boris Akunin: Black City review - a novel to sharpen the wits

It is 1914 – a fateful year for assassinations, war and revolution. The fictional Erast Petrovich Fandorin, the protagonist of Boris Akunin’s series of historical thrillers, is an elegant, eccentric sometime government servant, spy and diplomat, as...

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