tue 17/09/2019

Italy

theartsdesk at Incontri in Terra di Siena: galloping concertos and Stravinsky by starlight

July in Tuscany and the heat is intense. Oak-forested hills offer tempting shade; pale dust flies from the roads; in the houses curtains are drawn against the ferocious sun and around irrigated gardens the mosquitos are growing plump. If you love...

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Ludovico Einaudi, Barbican review - a long road to nowhere

There is a video, part of Greenpeace’s laudable Save The Arctic Campaign, in which Ludovico Einaudi sits at a Steinway atop a small ice flow performing his Elegy for the Arctic. As he plays a descending scale, the camera pans slightly to the right...

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The Chef's Brigade, BBC Two review - you're in the army now

While a spot of home cooking can be a relaxing experience with a nice meal at the end of it, signing up to this culinary campaign with Michelin-starred mega-chef Jason Atherton is like being sent off to join the Foreign Legion. The plan is that...

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Pavarotti review - enjoyable but superficial survey of a superstar

One of the most memorable moments in Ron Howard’s documentary about Luciano Pavarotti is one of its earliest scenes. It’s a chunk of amateur video shot when Pavarotti visited the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, a splendid Belle Epoque structure in the...

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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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