wed 03/06/2020

Bible

Michael Palin’s Quest for Artemisia, BBC Four

For his latest journey Michael Palin, actor, writer, novelist, comedian, Python, traveller, has gone beyond geography in search of the visual arts with his characteristic enthusiasm, eclectic curiosity, and sense of discovery.With his usual...

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Ben Hur, Tricycle Theatre

Hollywood took 365 speaking parts, 50,000 extras and 2,500 horses to tell this epic tale in 1959; here at the Tricycle, it’s a cast of four and some enterprising puppet work. Playwright Patrick Barlow, following up global hit The 39 Steps, has...

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10 Questions for playwright Patrick Barlow

Patrick Barlow’s last play was parked in the West End for nine years. The 39 Steps finally closed this autumn, but not before travelling all over the world, most prestigiously to Broadway but also, among other destinations, to Russia, Japan,...

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Jimmie Durham, Serpentine Gallery

The first thing you encounter is a ballot box bolted to the lid of a school desk; what or whom you might be voting for – apart from the hope of change – is not specified. In the eyes of Jimmie Durham, change is badly needed; in fact, most of the...

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Salome, Bournemouth SO, Karabits, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

“How fair is the Princess Salome tonight”! That slithering clarinet run, that glint of moonlight: few operas create their world so instantly and so intoxicatingly. At Symphony Hall, the lights rose on the very back row of the stage, the percussion...

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Samson et Dalila, Grange Park Opera

From “Printemps qui Commence“ (spring is beginning) to “Springtime for Hitler"... that really is quite some intellectual leap. Patrick Mason, an experienced and respected opera director, has uprooted the tale of Saint-Saëns's opera from biblical...

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The Ark, BBC One

There was a distinct lack of giraffe or spiny ant-eater or even ant in The Ark. The animals went in none by none in the BBC’s visit to the Old Testament. When the deluge finally came on, it was only the human race which was saved from the watery...

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Exodus: Gods and Kings

I wish Mel Brooks had directed this, but instead we've got the sort of stodgy techno-epic that has become all too common from the auteur-ial hand of Ridley Scott. Ridley's 150-minute rehashing of the Biblical story of Moses is often a feast for the...

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The Gospel According to the Other Mary, English National Opera

A great creative partnership like the one between composer John Adams and director Peter Sellars can endure the occasional wobble. In his peerless autobiography Hallelujah Junction Adams is frank about the information overload in Sellars’ premiere...

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Schama on Rembrandt: Masterpieces of the Late Years, BBC Two

The chatty, loquacious, exuberant Simon Schama, whose seminal 1987 book on Holland in the 17th century, The Embarrassment of Riches, transformed the anglophone’s understanding of the Dutch Republic, describes himself as historian, writer, art critic...

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Moses in Egypt, Welsh National Opera

So easily parcelled up as a master of opera buffa, Rossini is a composer who constantly surprises by the emotional and intellectual range of his best work. William Tell, which opened WNO’s current season three weeks ago, is a major progenitor of...

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Prom 58: Salome, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Runnicles

So here’s where I join the ranks of Old Opera Bores by declaring this Salome, Nina Stemme, the best I’ve seen since Hildegard Behrens in 1978, and this Salome as in Richard Strauss’s Wilde opera from Donald Runnicles and his Deutsche Oper Berlin...

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