Critics' choice: OPENING THIS WEEK

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Francis Bacon: Works on Paper (Tate, SW1, 0171 887 8000, Tues to 2 May). Bacon always said he didn't sketch - but it turns out he did.

Millais: Portraits (National Portrait Gallery, SW1, 0171 306 0055, Fri to 6 Jun). Pre-Raphs a-gogo. JENNY TURNER


Affliction (15). Paul Schrader's new movie, starring Nick Nolte (see feature, page 2).

Holy Man (PG). Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston in a televangelism satire.

Foreign Land (no cert; London only). Brazilian thriller from 1995.

News from the Good Lord (18; London only). Cult, French, Sixties, incest, surreal, and so on.

This Year's Love (18). A British Big Chill - or so they say. With Emily Woof, Douglas Henshall, Ian Hart. JT


Michael Torke premiere (Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 0141 287 5511, Thurs). Book of Proverbs, by the cult American composer.

Maxwell Davies premiere (Manchester Bridgewater Hall, 0161 907 9000, Sat). A Reel of Seven Fishermen, a 30-minute orchestral score.

Alfredo Perl (Brandon Hall, 01203 542571, Fri & Sat). Outstanding young Chilean pianist in a weekend residency. MW


Spring Loaded (The Place, WC1, 0171 387 0031, from Tues). Jeremy James opens the annual new British dance season.

Richard Alston Dance Co (Blackpool Grand, 01253 290190, Fri & Sat). Premiere of Alston's Slow Airs Almost All of Them, set to arrangements of Bach by Mozart. Part of a triple bill.

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre (Norwich Theatre Royal, 01603 630000, Mon- Sat). Nutcracker from the cradle of Russian ballet. JG


Clair Martin (Bloomsbury Theatre, WC1, 0171 388 8822, Thurs). Smouldering vocalist and band launch album, Take My Heart.

Norma Winstone and John Taylor (Pizza Express, W1, 0171 439 8722, Thurs & Sun 21 Feb). Beautifully subtle vocals/piano duo.

Louis Sclavis Sextet (Birmingham CBSO Ctr, 0121 236 5622, Sat; Southampton Turner Sims, 01703 595151, Sun 21 Feb; and touring). Star French clarinet player. PJ


Peter Grimes (Cardiff New Theatre, 01222 878889, Mon to 24 Feb). New production of Britten's masterpiece by Peter Stein.

The Magic Fountain (Glasgow Theatre Royal, 0141 332 9000, Sat to 6 Mar). Obscure, empty but decorative nonsense, written by Delius after a pilgrimage to Bayreuth.

Tosca (Royal Albert Hall, SW7, 0171 589 8212, Thurs to 26 Feb). Raymond Gubbay's production - directed by David Freeman. MW


Sheryl Crow (Wembley Arena, 0181 900 1234, Thurs). Grammy-nominated trad- rock chick; her new single is out tomorrow.

Jonathan Richman (Jazz Cafe, NW1, 0171 916 6000, Tues-Thurs). The world's most lovable singer-songwriter. NB


Lift Off (Royal Court, WC2, 0171 565 5000, previews from Fri, opens 22 Feb to 13 Mar). In Roy Williams's play, supressed racial prejudice looks set to divide two lifelong friends.

Shockheaded Peter (Lyric, W6, 0181 741 2311, opens Wed, to 10 Apr). Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch's acclaimed version of Hoffmann's Struwwelpeter returns, prior to an international tour. CHLOE WALKER