wed 30/09/2020

Vienna

BBC Proms live online: Viennese Night review - sophisticated pleasures

Viennese operetta is like that other great Central European treat, goulash. It comes in many forms. In Vienna it’s coffeehouse comfort food; in Slovenia they add bacon for a smoky tang. And in the marketplaces of Transylvania it comes in bubbling...

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Amadeus, National Theatre at Home review – wild dance at the edges of sanity

It is 41 years since Peter Shaffer ripped off Mozart’s respectable façade to reveal a foul-mouthed verbally incontinent child-man with no more ability to control his behaviour than his genius. Inspired by a short story by Alexander Pushkin that put...

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Freud, Netflix review - hysteria and horror

Anyone expecting, as I was, a reverend and slightly earnest miniseries about Sigmund Freud's early professional years will be in for a surprise, and mostly in a good way. This, in short, is horror-schlock directed by Austrian specialist in the genre...

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Andsnes, Mahler Chamber Orchestra Soloists, Wigmore Hall review - conversations with Mozart

Leif Ove Andsnes’s long-term partnership with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra has already yielded rich fruit, and the Mozart quartets and trio he performed last night with members of the top-notch nomad band proved just as succulent. However, I would...

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Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre review - Stoppard at once personal and accessible

It’s not uncommon for playwrights to begin their careers by writing what they know, to co-opt a frequently quoted precept about authorial inspiration. So it’s among the many fascinations of Leopoldstadt that Tom Stoppard, at the age of 82, should...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Elgar, Scarlatti, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

 Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Elgar London Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle (Decca)Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s debut album included a brilliantly punchy account of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No 1 alongside various odds and sods. This second CD repeats the...

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Vienna Blood, BBC Two review - psychoanalysis and murder in turn-of-the-century Vienna

“Talking cures and exploring the darkness of men’s souls – are you sure this is a career for a gentleman?” This is Vienna, 1906. Freud is exerting an influence, to the disapproval of many, including the father of cool-as-a-cucumber Max Liebermann (...

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Measure for Measure, RSC, Barbican review - behind the times

Because he dramatised power, Shakespeare never really goes out of fashion. Treatments of his plays do though, and the RSC’s Measure for Measure, a transfer from Stratford set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, feels distinctly slack. The backdrop is...

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Wegener, LPO, Jurowski, RFH review – on the revolutionary road to Mahler

For better or worse, because of Visconti’s classic film the Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony now inevitably means Venice in its gloomiest moods. So there turned out to be a grim timeliness in a performance on an evening that coincided with the...

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Imogen Cooper 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall review - outwardly austere, lit from within

There are now two septuagenarians playing Schubert at a level no other living pianist can touch. Imogen Cooper celebrated her 70th birthday on 28 August, and marked it at the Wigmore Hall last night with a two-interval epic, poised but full of inner...

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Cate Haste: Passionate Spirit - The Life of Alma Mahler review - a racy life pacily narrated

Charismatic, full of vital elan to the end, inconsistent, fitfully creative, a casually anti-semitic Conservative Catholic married to two of the greatest Jewish artists, Alma Mahler/Gropius/Werfel née Schindler can never be subject to a boring...

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The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera review - charming to hear, charmless to look at

I last saw this Magic Flute, directed by Dominic Cooke, when it was new, some 14 years ago, and I remember it mainly, I’m afraid, for its lack of visual charm. Nothing much has changed: the relentless box sets (designer Julian Crouch), not a leaf or...

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