sun 08/12/2019

Moscow

Wallfisch, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Stoller Hall, Manchester review - Weinberg UK premiere

Everyone’s doing Weinberg now, or so it seems. The Polish-born composer who became a close friend of Shostakovich was born 100 years ago, and there’s plenty of his music to go round. Raphael Wallfisch gave the UK premiere of his Cello...

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Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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Natalia Goncharova, Tate Modern review - a prodigious talent

The times they are a-changin’. On show at the Barbican is a retrospective of Lee Krasner’s stunning paintings and, for the first time ever, Tate Modern is hosting two major shows of women artists. At last, the achievements of great women are...

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The Good Person of Szechwan, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Barbican review - slick Russian Brecht

"In our country the capable man needs luck," belts out Shen Te, the Good Person of Szechwan in the most powerful song of Brecht's epic "parable play" of 1941. "Only if he has powerful backers can he prove his capacity." Never was that more true than...

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The Cherry Orchard, Pushkin Drama Theatre, Barbican review - stunning absurdist Chekhov

There is no doubt that this Cherry Orchard, whirled into town by Roman Abramovich from Moscow, is going to be divisive. If you, like the two elegant old gentlemen sat next to me on press night, have come to see the Pushkin Drama Theatre’s...

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Panorama: Putin's Russia with David Dimbleby, BBC One review - jolly football weather

There was a lovely moment at the beginning of this Panorama where David Dimbleby was chatting to a schoolgirl – not just any schoolgirl actually, because she came from a family of 10 children, which surely makes her a bit out of the ordinary, even...

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McMafia, Series finale, BBC One review - the last bite is the cruellest

McMafia has taught us to recognise one thing – you might call it the “Norton stride”. As the charismatic Alex Godman, James Norton has been advancing, confidently at screen centre, towards one challenge after another, and they have been coming (...

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Bruno Maçães: The Dawn of Eurasia review - middle of nowhere

Part travelogue and part broad analysis of the current and future challenges facing the EU, the premise of Bruno Maçães’s new book The Dawn of Eurasia is to “use travel to provide an injection of reality of political, economic and historical...

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McMafia, BBC One review - James Norton looks promising in a murky le Carré world

It’s not the first time that James Norton has kicked off BBC One’s New Year primetime celebrations in Russian style. Two years ago, he was costumed up as the courageous Prince Andrei, in illustrious ensemble company for Andrew Davies and Tom Harper’...

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Storyville: Toffs, Queers and Traitors, BBC Four review - the spy who was a scamp

“There is something odd, I suppose, about anyone who betrays their country.” It’s an excellent opening line, particularly when delivered in director George Carey’s nicely querulous narrative voice, for Toffs, Queers and Traitors (BBC Four). He...

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Prom 29 review: BBCSO, Bychkov - Musorgsky's Khovanshchina sears in concert

"Ura!" as soldiers cry in Russian epic opera's last fling, Prokofiev's War and Peace: supertitles have arrived at the Proms, after much special pleading here and elsewhere. They're needed more than ever in Musorgsky's typically quirky survey of...

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Three Sisters, Sovremennik review - over-conscious of its legendariness

Sovremennik is Russian for “contemporary”, and ever since its founding in the Soviet Union's 1950s Thaw, Moscow’s Sovremennik Theatre company has lived by the idea that it expresses new, fresh breath in Russian theatre. Unless you argue...

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