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The Independent Culture
The essential weekly guide to the Arts Ann Murray (above) gets to wear Giorgio Armani in Cosi Fan Tutte at Covent Garden from Wednesday. The surprise is that, having sung the role of Dorabella everywhere from Salzburg to the Met, this time Murray is playing Despina. Her combination of vocal power - employed with great restraint - and her sheer commitment on stage is both rare and treasurable.

The West Yorkshire Playhouse starts its season with a coup. Previews begin on Thursday for Alan Rickman's production of The Winter Guest, the first play in five years from Sharman "When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout" MacDonald.

Anyone who hates Poussin should probably go into hiding for the next few months with the Royal Academy opening its major retrospective on Thursday. And there's more to come in the shape of complementary exhibitions at the Wallace Collection, the NationalGallery and the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Interview with the Vampire, starring Brad Pitt (above), finally opens on Friday, after much hype but disappointing US box-office. A better bet on sex, love and power is currently on tour and opening at the Warwick Arts Centre this week. Hell-bent, the latest solo show from Nigel Charnock, co-founder of DV8 Physical Theatre, takes you much further into darkness and danger than Hollywood is prepared to go.

Covent Garden 071-304 4000

West Yorkshire Playhouse 0532 442111

Royal Academy 071-439 7438

Warwick Arts Centre 0203 524524

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