mon 21/01/2019

Russia

CD: Kikok - Sauna

Russian trio Gnoomes have created small waves over the last couple of years with their woozy psychedelia. One of its defining factors is the way the band have utilised Soviet-era synthesizers. During the Cold War it wasn’t only weaponry and the...

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Swan Lake, English National Ballet, London Coliseum review - a solid, go-to production

Diversity, and the need for more of it, is a hot potato in the theatre arts. Kudos, then, to English National Ballet and its director Tamara Rojo for the 23 nationalities represented within its ranks. And for the poster advertising the company’s...

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Boris Akunin: Black City review - a novel to sharpen the wits

It is 1914 – a fateful year for assassinations, war and revolution. The fictional Erast Petrovich Fandorin, the protagonist of Boris Akunin’s series of historical thrillers, is an elegant, eccentric sometime government servant, spy and diplomat, as...

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Fiddler on the Roof, Menier Chocolate Factory review - family matters in this sensitive musical revival

There’s a welcome alternative to panto hijinks in this gem of a Trevor Nunn musical revival – more attuned to the biting hardships of winter, and to the elegiac aspect of change, than to festive jollies. Which is not to say that there isn’t rousing...

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Siberia review - Keanu Reeves's duff Russian mission

It is appropriate that Keanu Reeves sounds especially croaky and muffled throughout Siberia. Business meetings for his character Lucas Hill (a diamond trader) don’t normally involve much talk, just a swift briefcase handover and a confidential...

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Kolesnikov, BBCSO, Brabbins, Barbican review - rethought masterpiece, stolid rarity

Forget the latest International Tchaikovsky Competition winner (I almost have; only a dim memory of Dmitry Masleev's playing the notes in the obligatory First Piano Concerto, and nothing else, remains from an Istanbul performance). Had Pavel...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Theatre Producer Elyse Dodgson

The Royal Court Theatre has long been a leader in new British drama writing. Thanks to Elyse Dodgson, who has died aged 73, it has built up an international programme like few others in the arts, anywhere. At the theatre, Elyse headed up readings,...

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Fröst, BBCSO, Oramo, Barbican review - blood, sweat and sweetness

Single adjectives by way of description always sell masterpieces short, and especially the ambiguous symphonies forged in blood, sweat and tears during the Stalin years. The Barbican's advance blurb hit one aspect of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony...

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War and Peace, Welsh National Opera review - an Operation Barbarossa that comes off

What lunatic would ever have the idea of turning War and Peace into an opera? Well, maybe if you, a composer, had found yourself in Moscow in June 1941 when news of the German invasion reached the Soviet capital, you might have decided to mount an...

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The Seagull review - Chekhov classic gets the all-star treatment

A starry and mostly American cast does well by The Seagull, Chekhov's eternally moving portrait of egomania run wild and self-abasement turned tragically inward. Combining two major players from the New York theatre world in director Michael Mayer (...

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Blu-ray: A Gentle Creature

“To our enormous suffering!” There are many macabre vodka toasts, accompanied by some appropriately gruelling visuals, in A Gentle Creature, but that one surely best captures the beyond-nihilist mood of Sergei Loznitsa’s 2017 Cannes competition...

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h 100 Young Influencers of the Year: Marina Gerner on Russian art

On a recent visit to the Royal Academy, I noticed a tall, elegantly dressed man who spent quite some time admiring a square object attached to the wall. I wondered whether to tell him that far from being Russian avant-garde art, which was the theme...

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