wed 17/07/2024

19th century

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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Napoleon review - Sir Ridley Scott's historical epic is wide but not deep

Sir Ridley Scott has taken umbrage at the French critics who weren’t too impressed with his new movie. Not only do they not like his film, but the French “don’t even like themselves”, according to the dyspeptic auteur.But I feel our French cousins...

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Accentus, Insula orchestra, Equilbey, Barbican review - radiant French choral masterpieces

Last night saw two pieces of late 19th century French choral music – one a hugely popular staple of choral societies around the world, the other a complete novelty, lost for a hundred years – brought together in fascinating juxtaposition by the...

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The Flea, The Yard Theatre review - biting satire fails to sting

A flea bites a rat which spooks a horse which kicks a man and… an empire falls?James Fritz has won writing awards already in his developing career, but he has set himself quite the challenge to weave a thread that can bear that narrative weight. Two...

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Lies We Tell review - fear and gaslighting in 1860s Ireland

It is 1864 and the lush green lawns of Knowl, the stately home in Ireland that Maud Ruthyn (Agnes O’Casey) will inherit when she reaches the age of 21, are beautifully kept. Everything is in its place. Maud expects deference, especially from...

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Iolanthe, English National Opera review - still gorgeous but ever so slightly less funny than before

Parliament may be topsy-turvy, with a motley bunch of Lords the only hope in vetoing outrageous bills, but up the road at the London Coliseum a more disciplined company is steering a luxury liner with perfect craft. Cal McCrystal’s best G&S so...

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Kim, BBC Philharmonic, Gernon, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - the sound of brass

Ben Gernon’s relationship with the BBC Philharmonic has been a richly rewarding one over the close-on seven years since his appointment as their principal guest conductor began, and indeed subsequently. The impression gained on his first...

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Faust, Irish National Opera review - world-class singing turns the musical-dramatic screw

Is Gounod’s Faust really a “complex and multi-layered work”, as director Jack Furness claims? Goethe’s original and Berlioz’s Damnation, absolutely; this tuneful concoction, half light opera, half kitsch melodrama, not so much. If Furness’s take...

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Connolly, BBC Philharmonic, Storgårds, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - beginning with a fanfare

The opening concert of a new season often tends to be a statement of intent, and this was John Storgårds’ opener of the first full season since he was appointed chief conductor of the BBC Philharmonic. He’s hardly a newcomer to them, though, since...

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Falstaff, Opera North review - going green and having fun

There’s a charmingly retro feel to Opera North’s new Falstaff, which comes from it being done as part of their new “green”, i.e. ecologically conscious, season.Leslie Travers’ set is made of bits from other productions and – most notably – shows...

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Zadie Smith: The Fraud review - the trials we inherit

Zadie Smith’s latest novel, The Fraud, is her first venture into historical fiction – a fiction based on a factual trial and a real, forgotten Victorian author. While the premise is interesting and the story is engaging in itself, this book perhaps...

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