wed 30/09/2020

19th century

Anderszewski, CBSO, Wellber, Symphony Hall Birmingham review - grandeur in restraint

No orchestra wants its conductor to cancel in the week of a concert. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s illness was announced only on Monday, but even in ideal conditions, if you needed to find a last minute replacement maestro for a programme of Bartók and...

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BBC Philharmonic, Wellber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - making music magic

Omer Meir Wellber, who once used to do magic with music for children, pulled a whole set of rabbits out of the hat in his reading of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony on Saturday. Others may make the work's rhythms and melodies alluring through the sheer...

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SCO, Emelyanychev, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - Beethoven at too insistent a lick

Fast is fine in Beethoven, so long as you find breathing-spaces, expressive lines and crisp articulation within it. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's febrile new chief conductor, Maxim Emelyanychev, started the "Pastoral" Symphony last night with a...

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Fidelio, Royal Opera review - fitfully vivid singing in a dramatic void

Emblazoned on a drop-curtain in front of a mirror-image of the auditorium, the three great tenets of the French revolution seem to be mocking us right at the start, above all the second of them: equality, really, given the make-up of the Royal Opera...

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True History of the Kelly Gang review - anarchy in Oz

“Nothing you’re about to see is true,” this adaptation of Peter Carey’s novel about Australia’s iron-clad Victorian outlaw Ned Kelly declares. Justin Kurzel’s wild investigation of the Kelly myth, Australian manhood and nationhood carves out its own...

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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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