wed 04/08/2021

theartsdesk com, first with arts reviews, news and interviews

Peter Quantrill
Wednesday, 04 August 2021
Two nights after the Scottish Chamber Orchestra had brought the first great E flat major symphony to the Proms – Mozart’s 39th – a serendipitous change of programme on Tuesday...
Brooke Simpson And Erin Black
Wednesday, 04 August 2021
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s Hope Exchange is an explosive return to the concert platform for hundreds of teenagers like us, playing a variety of new pieces,...
Joe Muggs
Wednesday, 04 August 2021
The endless circles and spirals that dance music moves in can take you to some strange places.It is, after all, a little peculiar that a producer from California, who was first...
David Nice
Tuesday, 03 August 2021
The love of power corrupts, the power of love falters or fails. The essence of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung is also what Graham Vick communicated so stunningly in many of his...
Jessica Duchen
Tuesday, 03 August 2021
The Proms are back, even if they don’t yet feel remotely normal. With audiences timid about mass events, and about a third of the arena roped off to protect a TV camera mounted on...
India Lewis
Tuesday, 03 August 2021
Thora Hjörleifsdóttir’s Magma is certainly not an easy read. It describes, in short chapters, the obsessive and ultimately destructive power of an abusive relationship....
Graham Rickson
Tuesday, 03 August 2021
Beauty and the Beast? Not quite; the Czech title of Juraj Herz’s 1978 fantasy is Panna a netvor, which translates, much more...
David Nice
Monday, 02 August 2021
“Time-travelling” is how Enrique Mazzola, the superb first conductor of Glyndebourne’s last new production of the main...
Aleks Sierz
Monday, 02 August 2021
The Young Vic, led by the inspiring figure of Kwame Kwei-Armah, is back. After a prolonged closure, during which this venue...
Veronica Lee
Monday, 02 August 2021
Some people perfected their banana loaf or sourdough bread during lockdown. Others tried to learn a new language or how to...
Miranda Heggie
Monday, 02 August 2021
In its 40th anniversary year, the Ryedale Festival once again brought live music of the highest quality to the beautiful...
Guy Oddy
Monday, 02 August 2021
Despite being renowned for a somewhat fluid membership since their formation in 2000, it would seem that Liars has now...
Stephen Walsh
Sunday, 01 August 2021
There are advantages and disadvantages about opera-in-the-round, and it’s a format that suits some operas better than others...
Kieron Tyler
Sunday, 01 August 2021
Anyone in San Francisco on 15 and 16 June 1968 would have had a tough choice if they wanted to see live music. On Saturday...
David Nice
Saturday, 31 July 2021
Did absence from Albert’s colosseum from early September 2019 until now and a roof-raising finale hoodwink many of us into...
Saskia Baron
Saturday, 31 July 2021
How lovely it must be to direct a documentary about your favourite musicians and have no one stop you from cramming in...
Graham Rickson
Saturday, 31 July 2021
 Riccardo Muti – The Complete Warner Symphonic Recordings (Warner Classics)As with Warner Classics’s recent André...
Matt Wolf
Saturday, 31 July 2021
Displacement looms large over every quietly impressive frame of Limbo, writer-director Ben Sharrock's magnetic film about a...
Tim Cumming
Saturday, 31 July 2021
The folk world is slowly coming out of its long pandemic slumber, with Sidmouth’s month-long festival starting in the midst...

★★★★ BLU-RAY: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Dark retelling of a familiar tale from 1970s Prague

★★★ CHANGING DESTINY, YOUNG VIC Epic literary discovery recrafted by Ben Okri

★★★ THORA HJORLEIFSDOTTIR: MAGMA Love burns in debut novel from Iceland

★★★★★ BO BURNHAM: INSIDE, NETFLIX A masterpiece about lockdown angst

★★★★ LIMBO Ben Sharrock's story of a Syrian in Scotland packs a gentle wallop

★★★ JOHNSTON, BBCNOW, BANCROFT, BBC PROMS Laments and luminosity

★★★ LIARS - THE APPLE DROP One time New York neo-punkers get trippy

★★★★★ LUISA MILLER, GLYNDEBOURNE Small-scale tragedy, big emotions 

disc of the day

Album: Tomu DJ - Feminista

Pastoral beauty from somewhere out of time on Californian DJ's debut


Blu-ray: Beauty and the Beast

Dark retelling of a familiar tale from 1970s Prague

The Sparks Brothers review - giddy celebration of the Mael brothers

Edgar Wright takes a break from directing actors to craft a love letter to pop

Limbo review - quiet but voluble

Story of a Syrian in Scotland packs a gentle wallop

new music

Album: Tomu DJ - Feminista

Pastoral beauty from somewhere out of time on Californian DJ's debut

Album: Liars - The Apple Drop

One time New York neo-punkers get trippy

Reissue CDs Weekly: Tim Buckley - Merry-Go-Round at the Carousel

Essential first-ever release of previously unheard live shows from 1968


Brauss, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, BBC Proms review - surprises and miracles in store

Drumroll: It's......... a joy to hear some Haydn again

First Person: young musicians Brooke Simpson and Erin Black on the National Youth Orchestra's 'Hope Exchange' project

NYO double bass player and orchestral pianist on their part in a very special collaboration

Johnston, BBCNOW, Bancroft, BBC Proms - laments and luminosity

A finely formed programme that both mourned and celebrated


RhineGold, Birmingham Opera Company, Symphony Hall review - music-drama at the highest level

Magnificent cast of singer-actors and full orchestra honour the late Graham Vick’s vision

Luisa Miller, Glyndebourne review – small-scale tragedy, big emotions

Bold casting includes a sensational main-season debut from soprano Mané Galoyan

The Cunning Little Vixen, Longborough Festival Opera review - life, death and the menopause in the forest

Janáček's strip cartoon engagingly directed and sung, orchestrally problematic


Changing Destiny, Young Vic review – an epic literary discovery
A 4,000-year-old poem reopens this venue, but is more educational than dramatic
Bagdad Café, Old Vic review - sweet but scattershot
Stage adaptation of 1987 film needs more narrative drive
Oleanna, Arts Theatre review - Mamet on power and tragedy
David Mamet’s most controversial play retains its explosive charge


Beauty Mixed Programme, Royal Ballet review - no dancers? No problem

The company's 90th anniversary celebration triumphs over setbacks

theartsdesk Q&A: choreographer Christopher Scott

The creator of the sizzling dance scenes for 'In The Heights' on how they came about

Solstice, English National Ballet, RFH review - a midsummer treat

A grand summer picnic at the Southbank Centre


Thora Hjörleifsdóttir: Magma review - love burns in debut novel from Iceland

A raw examination of the destructiveness of a toxic relationship

10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami

Assaying 'Heaven' - the Japanese writer on childhood, vulnerability, and violence as a complement to beauty

Samantha Walton: Everybody Needs Beauty review - the well of the world

Can a person be healthy if their environment is not?

visual arts

Karla Black, Fruitmarket, Edinburgh review - airy free-for-all

A retrospective of the abstract sculptor highlights her idiosyncracies

Ben Nicholson: From the Studio, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester review - domestic bliss

Still life takes the foreground in a long-awaited survey of the painter's career

latest comments

Excellent show. High production value. Noirish....

So basically it is rubbish. Why keep ingratiating...

Having come across their series . I loved it...


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters