thu 18/07/2019

Italy

theartsdesk at the Ravenna Festival 2019 - in heaven with Dante's Purgatorio and Estonian rites

Two years ago Ermanna Montanari and Marco Martinelli, the visionary partners who have powered Ravenna's revolutionary Teatro delle Albe since 1986, led local people and international visitors down through the circles of Dante's Inferno. In 2021, the...

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La Fille du Régiment, Royal Opera review - enjoyable but questionable revival

On paper, this might seem like a revival too far, a production clearly intended as a vehicle for world-class singers being tacked on the end of the Covent Garden season, and without any big names in sight. But it turns out that Laurent Pelly’s...

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theartsdesk in Treviso - cultural patronage, Italian style

Fortunate those Italian towns and cities whose Renaissance rulers looked to the arts to enrich their domain. Now neglect of cultural heritage can be laid at the doors of successive governments, but regional enlightenment can make a difference even...

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The Light in the Piazza, RFH review - Broadway musical looks good and sounds even better

A Broadway show as melodically haunting and sophisticated as it is niche, The Light in the Piazza has taken its own bittersweet time getting to London. A separate European premiere in 2009 at Leicester's Curve Theatre whetted the local appetite for...

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Franco Zeffirelli: 'I had this feeling that I was special'

"I am amazed to be still alive. Two hours of medieval torment.” Franco Zeffirelli - who has died at the age of 96 - had spent the day having a lumbar injection to treat a sciatic nerve. You could hear the bafflement in his heavily accented English....

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Bauci e Filemone/Orfeo, Classical Opera, QEH review - a star Orpheus is born

All happy 18th century couples are alike, it seems, and that makes for a certain placidity in Gluck's pastoral Bauci e Filomene for the (unhappy) wedding of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma and Maria Amalia, Archduchess of Austria. All unhappy couples are...

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58th Venice Biennale review - confrontational, controversial, principled

There’s a barely disguised sense of threat running through the 2019 Venice Biennale. Of the 79 participating artists and groups, all are living and there’s a sharp sense that the purpose of the exhibition is to diagnose the ills afflicting the...

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First Person: Robert Hollingworth on I Fagiolini's 'Leonardo - Shaping the Invisible'

Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago on 2 May this year. We all know he was a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, pioneer of flight and anatomist – yet according to Vasari, Leonardo’s first job outside Florence was as a result of his musical...

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Who’s Afraid of Drawing? Works on Paper from the Ramo Collection, Estorick Collection review - surprising and rewarding

Paper is traditionally the medium though which artists think. Stray thoughts and experiments can be quickly tried out, pushed further or jettisoned. There are no penalties for starting something which goes wrong or transforms into something else...

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Loro review – hedonism must have an end

"Them" - the "loro" of the title (with a further play on “l’oro”, gold) - denotes the mostly sleazy opportunists willing to use and be used by "him" ("lui"), "Presidente" Silvio Berlusconi in his septuagenarian bid for an extended sexual and...

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Happy as Lazzaro review - magical realism from Italy

Italy has a romance with rural grit and innocence and – perhaps not surprising in a country where the links between village and city are still very strong: Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro Felice) isn’t in any way derivative, but...

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Pitzhanger Manor review - letting the light back in

When in 1800 the architect Sir John Soane bought Pitzhanger Manor for £4,500, he did so under the spell of optimism, energy and hope. The son of a bricklayer, Soane had – through a combination of talent, hard work and luck – risen through...

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