tue 07/02/2023

Germany

Tannhäuser, Royal Opera review - true goodness triumphs in the end

It’s always a disappointment when the Venusberg orgy Wagner added in 1861 to his original, 1845 Tannhäuser to suit Parisian tastes gives way to foursquare operatic conventions. Especially so in this revival of Tim Albery’s 2010 production, where...

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Linck & Mülhahn, Hampstead Theatre review - problems as well as pleasures

With the total loss of its Arts Council funding, Hampstead Theatre’s future as a specialist new writing venue is in doubt. But before anything drastically changes, the playwrights and plays developed by Roxanna Silbert, who was edged out as artistic...

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The Damnation of Faust, LPO, Gardner, RFH review - the devil's in the detail

No work gives its listeners such pleasure on the way to hell (and back) as Berlioz’s rule-busting “dramatic legend”, The Damnation of Faust. It delivers not just flamboyant thrills, but low comedy, high drama, pathos, terror, nostalgia, pastoral...

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Bach Christmas Oratorio (Parts 1-3 & 6), Britten Sinfonia, Polyphony, Layton, Barbican review - glorious riposte to Arts Council axe

What do you do when your high-achieving ensemble has just been dealt a brutal, capricious blow, but you have the most joyfully festive work in the repertoire on your seasonal agenda? To say that the Britten Sinfonia came out with all trumpets (and...

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Making Modernism, Royal Academy review - a welcome if confusing intro to seven lesser known artists

The Royal Academy’s Making Modernism is a welcome introduction to seven women painters working in Germany at the beginning of the last century. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’d never heard of Gabriele Münter, Marianne Werefkin and Paula Modersohn-...

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Good, Harold Pinter Theatre review - brilliant but half-baked

“The bands came in 1933.” So begins C P Taylor’s Good, a play that tries its hardest to resist being Googled. It was first performed by the RSC in 1981; this production, starring David Tennant as a mild-mannered German professor who gradually...

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Munich Games, Sky Atlantic review - superbly crafted thriller races to prevent a terrorist attack

A black box with a red blinking light is being stashed in a cabinet under the seating of the Olympic stadium in Munich. Then a hoodie-ed man is seen in silhouette, the stadium in the background. We are about to be plunged into the darker corners of...

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Prom 62, Mahler's Seventh Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Petrenko review - hallucinogenic night's journey into day

Match the most multi-timbred, flexible orchestra in the world with the iridescent peak of symphonic mastery, and you have an assured winner of a Prom. Yet not even Kirill Petrenko’s previous London performance of Mahler’s Seventh with the Bavarian...

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theartsdesk at the Bayreuth Festival Ring 2022 - a jumbled mess of ideas, some of them compelling

It is mid-way through the new Ring cycle, and we are taking lunch outside the old town hall on the high street in Bayreuth. Discussion at neighbouring tables is intense: “The Ring is a child!”, “Why does Wotan have no spear?”, “The pyramid in the...

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Siegfried, Longborough Festival review - happily concept-free but with 'Good Ideas'

With a lapse of three years between Das Rheingold and Siegfried, and with only a semi-staged Walküre in between, it’s been hard to stay tuned to Amy Lane’s Ring production at Longborough.Here, for instance, is Mime in his cave (rather well, if...

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theartsdesk at the Dresden Music Festival - orchestral abundance in a spectacular setting

Dresden is filled with music at this time of year. The Dresden Music Festival runs through May and early June, with concerts at all the famous venues – the Frauenkirche, the Semperoper – but also recitals in smaller halls and unlikely settings.My...

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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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