sun 02/10/2022

Barbican

Carolee Schneeman: Body Politics, Barbican review - challenging, in-your-face and messy

Life is messy and so is Carolee Schneeman’s work. She wanted it that way. Breaking down the barriers between art and life, between inhabiting a woman’s body and using it as primal material, was a key objective.And if this meant appearing naked in...

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The Divine Comedy, Barbican review - a triumphant retrospective

“We love you, Neil!” came the shout from the back of the circle. “Well, you’d have to,” he replied. Five nights, ten albums, 113 songs and 30-plus years of releases: The Divine Comedy’s residency at the Barbican was an opportunity to savour the...

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Anything Goes, Barbican review - shipboard frivolity still fizzes, mostly

This is the summer, in musical theatre terms at least, of the revival of the revival, with several recent remountings of iconic titles (South Pacific, now in London previews) getting a renewed lease on life, alongside the likes of My Fair Lady,...

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The Wedding, Gecko Theatre, Barbican review - eccentric, ebullient exploration of our contract with society

You never forget your first Gecko production. I experienced mine almost 20 years ago at the Battersea Arts Centre, when the company performed Tailors’ Dummies, its ingenious surreal show about obsession. This had all the hallmarks that would make...

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Davidsen, Oslo Philharmonic, Mäkelä, Barbican review - full workout for the nervous system

It could have been the most electrifying week of the musical year. Alas, Heathrow meltdown kept me from two of Klaus Mäkelä’s Sibelius concerts with his Oslo Philharmonic in Hamburg. But there was still what should have been the grand finale, the...

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Vondráček, LSO, Tilson Thomas, Barbican review - mixed messages

Conductor and pianist came at Liszt from opposite directions last night. Michael Tilson Thomas is a venerable presence at the podium and has been Laureate Conductor of the London Symphony for decades. Their relationship speaks of deep empathy and...

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Fidelio, Insula Orchestra, Barbican review - truth and justice brought to light

Thanks to the pandemic, the planned tidal surge of Fidelio productions never quite happened during Beethoven’s anniversary year of 2020. Instead, the birthday’s boy’s sole opera – beset by glitches and re-thinks ever since its creation – has rolled...

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Buchbinder, Gewandhausorkester Leipzig, Nelsons, Barbican / COE Soloists, St John's Smith Square review - European sophistication in spades

When in 2018 Andris Nelsons and his "new" Leipzig orchestra sealed an auspicious partnership with a locally significant but modestly scaled symphony, Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” (No. 3), they could not have foreseen two years ahead when the bigger...

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Age of Rage, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Barbican review - shattering assault on all the senses

Hunger for the gruesome horrors and euphoric highs of Greek tragedy seems to be stronger than ever. Yet when it comes to epic sequences, nothing in recent decades has quite had the impact of Peter Hall’s Aeschylus Oresteia at the National Theatre or...

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Bevan, Williams, Bebbington, RPO, Davan Wetton, Barbican review - Vaughan Williams celebrated

Amid the warm familiarity of a programme of established Vaughan Williams favourites, presented at the Barbican by the RPO and the City of London Choir, what really drew me in was the chance to hear his Fantasia on the “Old 104th” Psalm Tune,...

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Kožená, LSO, Rattle, Barbican review - Berlin to Broadway, and back

As Walter Huston croaked in 1938, it’s a long, long while from May to December. And Kurt Weill – who wrote his evergreen “September Song” for Huston in that year – spanned several musical epochs within not so many years as he travelled from the...

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Moore, LSO, Zhang, Barbican review – virtuosity worn lightly

Xian Zhang is clearly a versatile conductor. In this concert, with the London Symphony Orchestra, she presented a fascinating strings work by Chinese composer Qigang Chen and a new trombone concerto by Dani Howard, all framed with favourites from...

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