sat 15/06/2024

19th century

Gillam, Hallé, Poska, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an experience of colour and fun

There was a common factor in the superficially disparate elements of this Hallé concert, and it wasn’t just the fact that both soloist and conductor were female. It was an experience of the colours of the music and a sense of enjoyment of what...

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Osborne, BBC Philharmonic, Bihlmaier, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an orchestra at the top of its game

Just a few days after the Hallé’s Bruckner 8, the BBC Philharmonic weighed in with his Seventh Symphony for its Manchester audience. We’re all getting a lot of Bruckner in his 200th anniversary year, and this was a wise choice, being one of his...

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Sargent and Fashion, Tate Britain review - portraiture as a performance

At the turn of the 20th century, London’s smart set queued up to get their portraits painted by American-born artist John Singer Sargent. Sitting for him was a performance, a way to show the world just how rich, glamorous, clever or important you...

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Cavalleria Rusticana/Aleko, Opera North review - a new foil for Mascagni

Opera North have a new pairing for Mascagni’s popular but clichéd Cavalleria Rusticana in this double bill: an early Rachmaninov one-acter, written when he was 19. The production of the former is a revival of the one seen in 2017 in their Little...

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The Picture of Dorian Gray, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - inventive rollercoaster of a revamp

Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novella The Picture of Dorian Gray has given the world a trope built for flattery, along the lines of: “You look so young, you must have a portrait growing old in your attic”. But how many who use this line have read the text...

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The King and I, Dominion Theatre review - welcome return for the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic

The giant crinolines are back, and the winsome little royal children with miniature temples on their heads, and the glorious songs. The King and I is at the Dominion for a six-week run: how does its storyline look under a 21st century follow-spot?...

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Radulović, Hallé, de la Parra, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - fun for the young

Back on home ground, the Hallé begin 2024 in Manchester with a repeated programme. I heard the first of three performances this week. It includes one piece they played only 10 days ago on a tour in Spain with the orchestra’s new principal...

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Tchaikovsky's Wife review - husband material

The movies haven’t been kind to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker Suite was a highlight of Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940) perhaps, but the 1969 Soviet biopic directed by Igor Talankin was tedious and Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers, released...

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theartsdesk in Ravenna - Riccardo Muti passes on a lifetime's operatic wisdom

Does “the practice of opera singing in Italy” need help from UNESCO, which has newly inscribed it on the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”? Italian opera is surely immensely popular worldwide. But when it comes to...

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A Ghost Story for Christmas: Lot No 249, BBC Two review - mummy's boy unleashes hell in the halls of academe

Having previously brought us adaptations of M R James’s ghost stories, reviving the BBC tradition inaugurated by Lawrence Gordon Clark in the 1970s, Mark Gatiss has now turned to a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle for his annual Christmas chiller....

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The Peasants review - earthbound animation

After a few years of cinema, the wow factor of seeing actual things moving about on a screen wore off a bit and showmen saw that jump cuts and stop-motion – the dawn of animation – could lift audiences some more. The liberation from gravity, in fact...

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Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - championing the rich and rare

Sir Mark Elder’s zest for exploring fresh territory with the forces of the Hallé is unquenched even in his final season as music director. And who better to introduce the Stabat Mater of Rossini – a late flowering of the operatic wizard’s powers –...

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