wed 21/08/2019

France

Prom 44: Finley, LSO & Chorus, Orfeó Català, Rattle review - lurid inter-war triptych

So the Proms ignored the Berlioz anniversary challenge to perform his Requiem and serve up four brass bands at the points of the Albert Hall compass. Yet at least last night in works of the 1920s and 30s we got one offstage in the crazed baggy-...

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Transit review - existential nightmares for a German refugee

If you’re looking for escapism from anxieties about Brexit, the worldwide refugee crisis and rising authoritarianism, Christian Petzold’s Transit is not going to provide comfort. Adapted from Anna Segher’s 1944 novel about a Jewish writer fleeing...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Gounod, James MacMillan, Johannes Pramsohler

 Gounod: Symphonies 1 and 2 Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier (Chandos)Roger Nichols’ lucid sleeve note underlines the point that Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique singularly failed to kick off a 19th century French symphonic...

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theartsdesk at Itinéraire Baroque 2019 - a musical journey through the Périgord

We’ve all had the experience of wandering into a church, only to discover it filled unexpectedly with music: the choir rehearsing for Evensong, a local orchestra practising, a soprano and organist getting ready for a weekend wedding. This spirit of...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Isabelle Aboulker, Swan Hennessy, Schubert

 Isabelle Aboulker: Mélodies/Songs en français and in English Julia Kogan (soprano), Isabelle Aboulker (piano) (First Hand Records)Never heard of Isabelle Aboulker? Now in her 80th year, she's worked as a choral director and a singing...

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L'Arlesiana, Opera Holland Park review - at last, a rare Italian gem

So many second-rate Italian operas with good bits have been served up by Opera Holland Park and glitzier UK companies; despite best intentions and fine execution, none of the works by Mascagni, Zandonai, Alfano, Leoni, Ponchielli or Giordano has...

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Varda by Agnès review - a richly moving film farewell

French director Agnès Varda looks back over a cinematic career of seven decades in this a richly moving film farewell, finished not long before her death at the end of March, aged 90. It’s structured around a series of masterclasses in which she...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Sauvage

Anyone who saw Félix Maritaud playing the angry activist Max in Robin Campillo’s Paris ACT UP drama 120 BPM will certainly remember him (main picture). He came to the film as a non-professional, from an arts student background, and builds on that...

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Manon Lescaut, Opera Holland Park review - attempt to empower commodified woman falls flat

"Waiting is always wearisome," declare the socialites as glitter-and-be-gay Manon Lescaut receives in the home of her nasty old "protector" Geronte. Despite the numerous sugar-plums Puccini weaves into his first fluent operatic masterpiece, waiting...

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Cannes 2019: Week One - a genre-heavy opening

Every year the Cannes Film Festival is a swirl of chaos, excitement, and controversy. Last year, the festival had a markedly different feel. Gone were the big starry names. Replacing them were less glitzy films that were given a chance to shine....

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Cannes 2019: The Dead Don't Die review - festival opens with rich zombie satire

“The world is perfect. Appreciate the details” says a WU-PS driver played by RZA, in Jim Jarmusch’s gleefully meta zombie-comedy that has just opened the Cannes Film Festival. It’s good advice. Jarmusch’s latest work is a finely tuned, deadpan...

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The Hustle review - rotten scoundrels

This third version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ yarn of rival, class-warring con artists on the French Riviera is just something for Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson to do till a better gig comes along. The concept goes no higher than teaming them up,...

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