sun 20/05/2018

Russia

Life and Fate / Uncle Vanya, Maly Drama Theatre, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - the greatest ensemble?

Towards the end of the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg's Life and Fate, a long scene in director Lev Dodin's daring if necessarily selective adaptation of Vasily Grossman's epic novel brings many of the actors together after a sequence of...

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Describe the Night, Hampstead Theatre review - epic take on the mythology of Putin

Five years ago, when New York playwright Rajiv Joseph started on his fantasy disquisition on truth, lies and the recent history of Russia, no one was talking about a new Cold War and trump was still a thing you did in a game of cards. Now, at the...

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Homeland, Series 7 Finale, Channel 4 review - Russian roulette

In a manner uncannily reminiscent of last year’s Season 6, this latest edition of Homeland spent at least half the series trying to get warmed up for the dash to the tape over the final furlongs. Viewers finding themselves slipping into a catatonic...

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Nikolai Lugansky / Pavel Kolesnikov, Wigmore Hall review - lucidity and depth from two master pianists

Reaching for philosophical terms seems appropriate enough for two deep thinkers among Russian pianists (strictly speaking, Kolesnikov is Siberian-born, London-based). In what Kant defined as the phenomenal world, the tangible circumstances, there...

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Eugene Onegin, Scottish Opera review - sweepingly sumptuous Tchaikovsky

It’s 25 years since Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin last came to the Scottish Opera stage, and this brand new production, directed by Oliver Mears, DIrector of Opera at The Royal Opera, gives the stirring score a stately yet elusive grandeur. Based on...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Borgström, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Alec Frank-Gemmill

 Borgström: Violin Concerto, Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin), Wiener Symphoniker/Olari Elts (BIS)Hjalmar Borgström sounds like the name of a BBC Four gumshoe, a melancholy detective solving crimes in downtown...

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Andsnes, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review - dazzling symphonic contrasts, plus oddities

Kudos, as ever, to Vladimir Jurowski for making epic connections. Not only did he bookend a rich LPO concert with two very different symphonies from the late 1930s by Stravinsky and Shostakovich; he also masterminded and attended the early evening...

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Occupied, series 2, Sky Atlantic review - political conflicts looking all too actual

Eight months have passed since the Russians invaded Norway in the first season of Jo Nesbo’s neo-Cold War thriller. Real-life events have only made Occupied seem more relevant. Like Conrad’s novel Under Western Eyes, it dramatises the clash between...

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Blu-ray: Andrey Zvyagintsev - The Return / The Banishment

Andrey Zvyagintsev is without doubt one of the great film-makers of our time. If you only know Leviathan, it's about time you looked at the rest of his considerable oeuvre. What is it about Russian cinema? Since the 1920s, Russia has brought us a...

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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Royal Opera review - bleak rigour and black comedy still cast a spell

Anyone who's seen Richard Jones's rigorous production before will remember the makeover – Katerina Izmailova, bored and brutalised housewife released by sex and murder from her shackles, having her drab bedroom expanded and redecorated in deliberate...

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From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera review - Janáček's prison oddity prompts hot tears

A political prisoner is brutally initiated into the life of a state penitentiary, and leaves it little over 90 minutes later. Four inmates reveal their brutal past histories with elliptical strangeness - each would need an episode of something like...

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Red Sparrow review - from Russia with lust

As it turns out, the slashed-to-the-hip Versace dress with which Jennifer Lawrence provoked controversy (synthetic or otherwise) on a freezing London rooftop was an accurate barometer of what to expect from Red Sparrow. It has the nostalgic...

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