wed 24/07/2024

Barbican

Madeleine Peyroux, Barbican review - a transport of delight

You can take the woman out of the Left Bank, but you can’t take the Left Bank out of the woman. Madeleine Peyroux would be perfectly at home in a boîte in the Latin Quarter, or perhaps Montparnasse. Alas, we were in the sadly unromantic surrounds of...

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Orlando, Academy of Ancient Music, Cummings, Barbican review - madly beautiful

The Academy of Ancient Music, which celebrates its “golden anniversary” this season, got going just as Handel’s operas began to leave the library at last and reclaim the stage. There they continue to flourish, dazzle and move – which makes any...

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Francis Alÿs: Ricochets, Barbican review - fun for the kids, yet I was moved to tears

Belgian artist, Francis Alÿs has filled the Barbican Art Gallery with films of children playing games the world over. Many of them are familiar; they’re playing five stones in Nepal (pictured below left), conkers in London, stone skimming in Morocco...

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Kiss Me, Kate, Barbican review - an entertaining, high-octane Cole Porter revival

Lincoln Center’s Bartlett Sher is back in town to direct the Barbican’s latest summer blockbuster, Cole Porter’s classic Kiss Me, Kate. It’s an energetic, largely intelligent production of what is at base a screwball comedy with great songs. ...

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Bach's Mass in B Minor, Collegium Vocale Gent, Herreweghe, Barbican - masterful subtlety proves more intriguing than compelling

There’s a masterful subtlety to Philippe Herreweghe’s interpretation of Bach’s last great choral work – it shuns blazing transcendence for a sense of serene contemplation that reveals every angle of the mass’s geometrical perfection. Listening to...

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Travels Over Feeling: The Music of Arthur Russell, Barbican review - a sublime evening undercut by tonal shifts

Last night’s Travels Over Feeling: The Music of Arthur Russell (a concert in part accompanying the recent publication of a book about his life by Richard King) was a brilliant way to honour the legacy of a fascinating, challenging, and sublime...

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Coote, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - the triumph of life

Programme notes for Mahler’s monumental symphonies will often blithely chat about the works’ epic struggle between life and death, creation and destruction, joy and dread. In a comfy hall with a slick orchestra and a polished maestro, all of that...

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Britten Sinfonia, The Marian Consort, Milton Court review - a journey around turbulent spirit Gesualdo

Gesualdo was, in the words of New Yorker critic Alex Ross – “irrefutably badass”, a double murderer, sado-masochist and black magic enthusiast who also found time to write music that was – according to some – centuries ahead of its time. He was the...

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Guildhall School Gold Medal 2024, Barbican review - quirky-wonderful programme ending in an award

While the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra were performing Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie – weirdly, despite its size and difficulty, a repertoire staple – over at the Royal Festival Hall, their Guildhall School counterparts presented a...

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Stephen review - a breathtakingly good first feature by a multi-media artist

Stephen is the first feature film by multi-media artist Melanie Manchot and it’s the best debut film I’ve seen since Steve McQueen’s Hunger. It’s gripping from the first frame to the last; the tension rarely lets up as we watch the main character...

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Watts, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bignamini, Barbican review - blazing French masterpieces

Anyone who’d booked to hear soprano Sally Matthews or to witness the rapid progress of conductor Daniele Rustioni – the initial draw for me – could not have been disappointed in their late-stage replacements. Elizabeth Watts is as much of a national...

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First Persons: composers Colin Alexander and Héloïse Werner on fantasy in guided improvisation

For tonight’s performance at Milton Court, the nuanced and delicate tones of strings, voices, harmonium and chamber organ will merge and mingle together to tell tales of a rain-speckled landscape, luck and misfortune, forgotten valour, daily...

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