THE 50 BEST ARTS EVENTS: COMING SOON TO AN AUDIENCE NEAR YOU

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The Independent Culture
The arts world is getting back to work again after the summer break, so now seems like a good time to round up the best of the forthcoming season. Whether it's new drama on TV, big movie blockbusters, eclectic jazz festivals or not-to-be-missed exhibitions - you saw it here first

1

RATCATCHER

Scots film-maker Lynne Ramsay's debut is a startling study of one boy's coming of age, all strung out around the waste-strewn sink estates of 1970s Govan. Dreamy camerawork plus some unaffected acting from a knee- high cast add up to an evocation of childhood madness that ranks alongside Bresson's Mouchette or Truffaut's Four-Hundred Blows.

Where and when: general release, from 19 Nov.

2

WIVES AND DAUGHTERS

From the team that brought you Pride and Prejudice - adapter Andrew Davies and producer Sue Birtwistle - this promises to be a high-class period drama. Starring Francesca Annis, Bill Paterson, Michael Gambon and Iain Glen, Davies's version of the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell centres on the awakening of young Molly Gibson (Justine Waddell).

Where and when: BBC1, Nov (transmission times and dates to be announced).

3

THE DIARY OF ONE WHO VANISHED

When is a play not a play? When it's written for a singing actor and orchestra. Categorisations should be thrown away for this Janacek piece produced by the National Theatre and English National Opera. The last time Deborah Warner (above) and Ian Bostridge worked together - on Britten's Turn of the Screw - the results were jaw-dropping. Book immediately.

Where and when: Dublin Theatre Festival, 47 Naffau St, Dublin 2 (00 35 31 671 2860), 14-16 Oct; National Theatre, London SE1 (0171-452 3000), 3-6 Nov.

How much: Dublin, pounds 10-25; NT, pounds 10-35.

4

VAN DYCK

Seventeenth-century portrayer of countless assembled burghers, nobles, royals, children and dogs, court painter to Charles I, Van Dyck's talent was recognised at an early age. His elegant and melancholy works were to profoundly influence English portraiture. This show marks his 400th anniversary and brings together the famous faces of the English and Genoese establishment, as well as rarer mythological and religious scenes.

Where & when: Royal Academy of Arts, London W1 (0171-300 8000), 11 Sept to 10 Dec.

How much: under-8s free; 8-11 pounds 1.50; 12-18 pounds 2.50; over-18s with student card pounds 5.50; OAPs and UB40 pounds 6.50; full price, pounds 8.

5

GOMEZ

Unbelievably, Gomez still have their doubters, but the excellent new Liquid Skin album shows that last year's Mercury Music Prize winners are no flash in the pan. They're also a rather amazing live band, principally due to the fact that they have fun on stage and drop in many little surprises. In fact, they seem to genuinely enjoy it.

Where and when: touring from 11 Oct to 3 Nov.

How much: pounds 10-pounds 11.50.

6

WAGNER'S PARSIFAL

Any visit to Britain by the Kirov Opera under its powerhouse of a musical director, Valery Gergiev, is an event in itself. Rather than bringing over a production of Rimsky-Korsakov or Prokofiev, though, he chooses Wagner's great mystical drama. Wagner (left) had a profound influence on Russian opera, so it will be interesting to see how the debt is repaid with this concert performance.

Where and when: Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (0171-589 8212), 27 Sept.

How much: restricted views, pounds 10; stalls, pounds 49.50; second tier, pounds 30 and pounds 40; arena, pounds 30, pounds 37.50 and pounds 45; circle, pounds 19.50, pounds 25 and pounds 35.

7

AL MURRAY

Fresh from rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival - one critic called him "simply the funniest live comic character of the decade" - Al Murray's Pub Landlord is an inspired creation. In ... And a Glass of White Wine For the Lady! he rants and raves about foreigners, philosophy and ploughman's lunches.

Where and when: New Ambassadors Theatre, London WC2 (0171-836 6111), 26 Sept to 19 Dec.

How much: pounds 14.50.

8

BRAD MEHLDAU

Whether accompanying such disparate voices as Lee Konitz and Joshua Redman or leading his own trio, this young pianist (above) is never less then mesmerising. If his latest, solo offering, Elegiac Cycle (Warners), lacks the element of surprise of his trio outings, there is no denying the intensity and lyricism of a man who is the natural heir to Keith Jarrett.

Where and when: Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean St, London W1 (0171-439 8722), 23-26 Sept.

How much: Thurs & Sun pounds 15, Fri & Sat pounds 20.

9

ROYAL BALLET REOPENING

Back in its home, the Royal Ballet puts on its party glitter for an opening gala before settling down to its first programme, A Celebration of International Choreography. World premieres by Siobhan Davies and Ashley Page don't strike the mind as international, although it does mark contemporary choreographer Davies's debut with a ballet company. The programme's centre part is more cosmopolitan: short pieces by a changing selection of British and foreign choreographers, from Bejart to Tharp.

Where & when: Royal Opera House, London WC2 (0171-240 1200), 8 & 16 Dec.

How much: pounds 47.50, pounds 35, pounds 25, pounds 18, pounds 8 and pounds 6.

10

THE ROUTES OF ENGLISH

Melvyn Bragg (above) chronicles the history of the English language in this ambitious new 12-part series. He explores locations that have helped shape the way we speak, from Wigton in Cumbria (home to Melvyn and a Scandinavian-based dialect), and Hastings (site of the Norman conquest), to Canterbury, the final destination of Chaucer's pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.

Where and when: Radio 4, from 5 Oct, 4pm.

11

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

Pieced together on a skid-row budget, hyped on the Net and with box- office takings quickly nudging the $100m mark in the US, The Blair Witch Project is already a success story of David and Goliath proportions. Plus it's pretty scary too; its jittery camcorder stylings uncovering the mystery of a bunch of kids gone missing in the backwoods. Think Video Nation by way of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Where and when: general release from 29 Oct, certificate 15.

12

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS

Dinosaurs walk the earth again - courtesy of BBC Science. Drawing on the most advanced computer animation around and filmed in countries as diverse as Chile and New Zealand, this hi-tech series was three years in the making. Depicting the habits of tyrannosaurus rex, diplodocus, stegosaurus et al, it aims to be an "extinct Life on Earth".

Where and when: BBC1, Oct (transmission date and time to be announced).

13

THE LION KING

The show that actually exceeds the hype. This visual and aural feast makes spectacle respectable, producing goose-pimples after about 30 seconds. Julie Taymor's staging completely re-invents the movie and Richard Hudson's designs are a miracle of imagination. Even if you hate Disney - and especially if you loathed its dreadful staging of Beauty and the Beast - you simply have to see this.

Where and when: Lyceum Theatre, London WC2 (0870 400 0799), previews from 24 Sept, booking to 27 May.

How much: pounds 15-pounds 35.

14

JANE AND LOUISE WILSON

A mini-retro for the Turner-shortlisted twins, specialists in accessing the institutes of power. They use atmospheric room-scale video installations, photographs, and themselves as stalking, symbolic presences. Working collaboratively, as ever, they present three film-environments, including Stasi City - from the abandoned headquarters of the East Berlin Secret Police - and a new work, Parliament, filmed this recess in the House.

Where and when: Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2 (0171- 298 1515), 14 Sept to 31 Oct, 10am-6pm.

How much: free.

15

NITIN SAWHNEY

With his fourth album, Beyond Skin, Sawhney has made one of the records of the year: a well-crafted global soundscape that mixes Asian vibes, trip-hop beats, funky soul and flamenco. The experience works excellently live thanks to his troupe of singers - from soul divas through rappers to traditional Qawwali masters.

Where and when: Bull Theatre Gallery, Barnet, Herts (0181-449 0048), tonight, then touring to 29 Sept.

How much: pounds 12.

16

RARE ENESCU

George Enescu is best known for his Rumanian Rhapsodies, but he was by no means a musical lightweight. The CBSO demonstrate that it's not giving up its adventurous spirit following Simon Rattle's departure by mounting a rare performance of the Third Symphony, a pre-First World War piece of immense power, which is complemented by Alfred Brendel (above) as soloist in Mozart's E minor Piano Concerto, K482.

Where and when: Symphony Hall, Birmingham (0121-212 3333), 28 & 29 Sept, 7.30pm.

How much: pounds 31, pounds 25, pounds 21, pounds 16, pounds 11 and pounds 6.

17

ED BYRNE

Nominated for the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival last year, Ed Byrne is one of the brightest young stars on the circuit. Surfing on the wave of Irish comedy, he is undertaking a huge national tour this autumn, charming audiences with his lovable rambling.

Where and when: Cottier Theatre, Glasgow (0141-357 3868), 12 Sept.

How much: pounds 10.

18

CHICK COREA

For many years, the pianist likened to Bill Evans seemed destined to squander his talent on characterless fusion and sterile twiddling. But the creation of the acoustic group Origin - featuring the swinging rhythm section of drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Abishai Cohen - has rejuvenated him. The group's two records so far are strong on melody and rhythm, and thankfully weak on the whimsy that has threatened Corea's place in the pantheon.

Where and when: Ronnie Scott's, Frith Street, London W1 (0171-439 0747).

How much: Thurs pounds 15, Fri & Sat pounds 20.

19

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP

Sometimes soberly classical, sometimes outrageously kitsch, Mark Morris is contemporary dance's favourite son. He brings his individualistic dancers for a rare London visit before touring the regions with a different programme. Looks all set to be the highlight of this year's Dance Umbrella.

Where and when: Sadler's Wells, London EC1 (0171-863 8000), 5-9 Oct; Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (01782 213800), 11 Oct; Birmingham Repertory Theatre (0121-236 4455), 15 & 16 Oct; Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (01227 787787), 19 & 20 Oct; Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe (01494 512000), 23 Oct; New Victoria Theatre, Woking (01483 761144), 25 & 26 Oct.

How much: pounds 7.50-pounds 35.

20

PUSHING BACK THE CURTAIN

Misha Glenny, the historian, investigates the demise of communism in Eastern Europe. From the newly elected Pope's visit to Poland in 1979 to the dramatic ousting of the Ceausescu regime, the six-part series will examine the individuals, institutions and the astonishing changes that culminated in the falling of the Berlin Wall (above) and a Pink Floyd concert, of all things.

Where and when: Radio 4, 30 Sept, 8pm.

21

EAST IS EAST

Touted as this year's Brassed Off or The Full Monty, East is East follows the fortunes of a set of Anglo-Asian siblings torn between their Dad's strict Muslim teachings and the joys of Marc Bolan and bacon butties. Adapted from Ayub Khan-Din's stage-play, this tough and tender comedy paints a keen portrait of Britain's second-generation citizens.

Where and when: general release from 5 Nov, certificate 15.

22

SEX 'N' DEATH

In this dark satire, Martin Clunes plays an anarchic television presenter who will go to any extreme to gain a ratings advantage over a rival host (Martin Jarvis). Writer/director Guy Jenkins (Drop the Dead Donkey) calls it "a cautious look at a TV show of the future which makes The Word look like Jackanory".

Where and when: BBC2, Dec (transmission times and dates to be announced).

23

THE JEW OF MALTA

The Emperor of the Universe - aka Ian McDiarmid - plays the title role in Marlowe's ludicrously neglected, fierce black comedy which kicks sand in the face of every religious belief. The piously politically correct will hate it, but everyone else should rush to the latest production from Michael Grandage, flying high after Twelfth Night at Sheffield and Good at the Donmar.

Where and when: Almeida, London N1 (0171-359 4404), 30 Sept to 6 Nov.

How much: pounds 21.50, pounds 18.50, pounds 14, pounds 11.

24

TRACE: THE 1999 LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Liverpool all over - at venues and non-venues throughout the city including the Walker, the Tate, John Moores University, John Lewis and beyond - this is the first Liverpool Biennial and presents an international crew of 60 artists. The theme is matter triggering memory, personal and historical (itself triggering a slight sense of deja vu). Comes complete with TRACEY, its own ready-made fringe.

Where and when: Liverpool, various venues, 25 Sept to 7 Nov.

25

CHEMICAL BROTHERS

After a lucrative festival season, the crossover duo bring out their block-rockin' beats and much more on this short five-night tour to re- plug their current album, Surrender. They will also be the headlining DJs for the Gatecrasher club's big New Year's Eve bash in Sheffield.

Where and when: Empress Ballroom, Blackpool (01253 292029), 27 Nov; Apollo, Manchester (0161-242 2560), 29 Nov; Aston Villa Leisure Centre, Birmingham (0121-328 5377), 30 Nov; Brixton Academy, London SW2 (0171-771 2000) 2 & 3 Dec; Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield (0870 128 2000), 31 Dec.

How much: pounds 15-pounds 16.50; New Year's Eve at Gatecrasher, pounds 107.50.

26

GLUCK'S ALCESTE

The first of three superb concert performances of opera at the Barbican (the others are William Christie conducting Lully and Christopher Hogwood's Handel), John Eliot Gardiner conducts the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra in Gluck's great "Reform" opera, Alceste, in which the composer strived for simplicity and economy. Anne Sophie von Otter (above) is the eponymous heroine, leading a young but very promising French cast.

Where and when: Barbican Centre, London EC2 (0171-638 8891), 26 & 29 Oct, 7.30pm.

How much: pounds 45, pounds 35, pounds 26.50, pounds 19.50, pounds 12.

27

DAVID STRASSMAN

In his last show, the American ventriloquist David Strassman looked on (almost) powerlessly as Chuck Wood, his demonic dummy, spat at, vomited on and generally abused his audience. A unique act, he has taken ventriloquism a million miles away from its naff, end- of-the-pier image.

Where and when: Cambridge Corn Exchange (01223 357851), 24 Sept.

How much: pounds 13.50, pounds 11.50.

28

ECM FESTIVAL, BRIGHTON

Love him or loathe him, Manfred Eicher has had a profound effect on the world of jazz in the 30 years since he set up ECM, a label as noted for its distinctive album sleeves as for its understated music. Label stars, including Dave Holland (above), Kenny Wheeler and Tomasz Stanko, will be assisting in the celebrations that mix performance with lectures and other events.

Where and when: Brighton University, East Sussex (01273 709709), 6-27 Nov.

How much: free to pounds 20.

29

IREK MUKHAMEDOV & COMPANY

Emigre Russian ballet star Mukhamedov turns director again to assemble a group of his former compatriots for five nights only. The biggest magnet in the company is the Kirov's Altynai Asylmuratova, the world's most beautiful and serene ballerina. She and Mukhamedov dance Ravel's Bolero, deftly choreographed by Roland Petit as a dual of the sexes. Watch out also for the Soviet spectacular, the Moskovsky Waltz pas de deux, and, for fans only, a world premiere by the Royal Ballet's William Tuckett.

Where and when: Sadler's Wells Theatre, London EC1 (0171-863 8000), 19 to 23 Oct.

How much: pounds 7.50-pounds 35.

30

RADIO 1'S SOUND CITY

This year's Sound City alights on Liverpool, the hallowed ground that spawned the Beatles, Echo & the Bunnymen and, of course, Cilla Black. It kicks off with Liverpool Echoes, a documentary presented by Spice Girl Mel C (above). The Sporty One will assess the city's musical legacy and take a look at how the city became a brand name with the ascent of the Beatles; she'll be aided by contributions from Scousers Holly Johnson and Lily Savage.

Where and when: Radio 1, 19 Oct, 11pm.

31

THE LIMEY

Part Sixties pastiche, part love-letter to its star Terence Stamp (above), Steven (Out of Sight) Soderbergh's oblique revenge-thriller is one of the strangest creatures we'll see this year. The time-frame gets jiggled about, Peter Fonda pops up as a wasted West Coast impressario and Stamp gets his larynx round the whole lexicon of Cockney rhyming-slang. Definitely worth a butchers.

Where and when: on general release from 12 Nov (certificate to be announced).

32

LONGITUDE

Channel 4's recent drama offerings haven't exactly lived up to their hype, but Charles Sturridge's starry adaptation of Dava Sobel's unlikely bestseller looks set to buck the trend. The drama concerns 18th-century carpenter John Harrison's bid to solve one of the great navigational problems of the day - how to calculate longitude. Michael Gambon plays Harrison, and he's joined by Jeremy Irons, Ian Hart, Peter Vaughan and Brian Cox.

Where and when: Channel 4, Dec (transmission dates and times to be announced).

33

KING LEAR

Gregory Hersov, director of the revelatory production of Look Back in Anger at the National, returns to his home theatre for a revival of Shakespeare's great domestic drama/state of the nation play. The man having trouble with his daughters is played by Tom Courtenay (above); he's joined by a crack team, including an ideally cast Ian Bartholomew as his fool.

Where and when: Royal Exchange, Manchester (0161-833 9833), now showing to 23 Oct.

How much: Mon-Thur pounds 7-pounds 20; Fri & Sat pounds 8-pounds 23.

34

THE ART OF BLOOMSBURY

Visual work by the tight, influential, and much-covered Bloomsbury Group. Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell (above) and Duncan Grant were the main artist- protagonists. The show documents the circle between 1910 and 1925 through their own paintings - including some of the first abstracts in Britain - and those of London contemporaries such as Carrington and Sickert. It highlights their keen eye for the news from Paris - Derain, Picasso and Matisse.

Where and when: Tate, London SW1 (0171-887 8725), 4 Nov to 30 Jan 2000.

How much: pounds 8.10, pounds 5.50 concessions.

35

THE CHARLATANS

After a critically lauded headline spot at the recent Carling Weekend festival, these surprising survivors from the Madchester years continue to please the crowds with their live outings. They're also one of those bands who've had more hits and memorable tracks than you'd think. The 13-date UK tour ties in with the release of their sixth album, Us and Us Only, on 16 October.

Where and when: touring from 20 Oct to 6 Nov. Venue details, etc, from: www.thecharlatans.com

How much: pounds 16-pounds 17.50.

36

HANDEL'S RINALDO

The cast list for this concert performance of the first of Handel's operas to take London by storm is enough to wet the most jaded of appetites. The counter-tenor David Daniels is the Crusader hero, Bernarda Fink the Captain General and Cecilia Bartoli (above) the commander's daughter, with Christopher Hogwood directing his period-instrument orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music.

Where and when: Barbican Centre, London EC2 (0171-638 8891), 15 & 17 Nov, 7.30pm.

How much: pounds 26.50, pounds 19.50, pounds 12.

37

CRAIG CHARLES

Charles is one of life's exhibitionists. At one point in his live show, Still Live on Earth, the star of Red Dwarf drops his trousers to reveal stockings and suspenders, then proceeds to conduct a conversation with the contents of his underpants. He even includes a brave section about his spell in jail on remand for a rape charge.

Where and when: Swan Theatre, Worcester (01905 27322), 19 Sept.

How much: pounds 12.50, pounds 10.50 concessions.

38

LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL

The Zawinul Syndicate and Mark Isham's Visions of Miles Davis is likely to be more interesting than many of the other recent tributes to the late trumpeter (above), while sparks should fly when Branford Marsalis teams up with the Julian Arguelles Octet and David Sanborn brings his bluesy fusion to town as part of the capital's annual influx of American talent.

Where and when: various venues (including the Royal Festival Hall, London SE1, and the Barbican, EC2), 12-21 Nov. Festival hotline: 0171-405 5974.

How much: prices vary.

39

RAMBERT DANCE COMPANY

The choreographer Christopher Bruce promises his most ambitious concept yet for Rambert Dance Co. God's Plenty, his first single-handed, full evening piece, takes Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as a starting point to explore the eternal questions of religion, violence, and relations between men and women. Where and when: Palace Theatre, Manchester (0161-242 2503), 15 & 16 Sept; Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe (01494 512000), 15 & 16 Oct; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh (0131-529 6000), 22 & 23 Oct; Sadler's Wells Theatre, London EC1 (0171-863 8000), 23-27 Nov; Theatre Royal, Plymouth (01752 267222), 8-11 Dec.

How much: pounds 7.50-pounds 32.50.

40

JANACEK SEASON

There will be nothing you don't know about Janacek at the end of this spectacular season. It opens with a feature about Bohemian composers, and reaches a climax with the Scottish Opera's performance of Katya Kabanova - Janacek's 1921 masterpiece which was inspired by Madame Butterfly. A series of interval features include Janacek Today, Janacek in the Twenties, and Janacek and Folk Song.

Where and when: Radio 3, 27 Sept to 1 Oct.

41

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH

Bond number 19 looks determined to inject new blood into its 40-year- old franchise. Admittedly the latest offering is sticking with clothes- horse Pierce Brosnan (here making his third appearance as 007), but elsewhere there's a decided hipness to a cast that includes Denise (Wild Things) Richards as the obligatory love-interest, and Robert Carlyle as the obligatory megalomaniac villain.

Where and when: general release from 26 Nov (certificate to be announced).

42

MASSIVE LANDMARKS OF THE 20TH CENTURY

The lead-up to the millennium is marked in typically quirky fashion by the National Theatre of Brent. In this comic six-part series, Desmond Oliver Dingle (Patrick Barlow) and his research assistant, Raymond Box (John Ramm), re-enact the major events from this century - from the Russian Revolution to the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Where and when: Channel 4, Dec (transmission date and time to be announced).

43

MACBETH

There hasn't been a truly outstanding Macbeth since the Trevor Nunn/Ian McKellen/Judi Dench version 20 years ago - even on video it's terrifying - but this new RSC production has a very fine pedigree. Antony Sher bloodies his hands as the man who would be king, Harriet Walter stands fiercely by her man, and trusty Gregory Doran directs.

Where and when: The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon (01789 403403), in preview from 2 Nov, opens 16 Nov.

How much: pounds 5-pounds 36; concessions available.

44

MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO

Sage and founder of the seminal Arte Povera movement in Italy in the Sixties and Seventies, Pistoletto is a painter, sculptor, performer and writer, best known for his series of mirror paintings, in which painted figures mingle with reflected viewers. This MoMA show, Shifting Perspectives, delves into Pistoletto's spatial concerns, and includes mirror work old and new, in sculpture, silkscreens and photographs.

Where & when: Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (01865 813830), 17 Oct to 30 Dec.

How much: pounds 2.50, pounds 1.50 concessions, free for under-16s, and for all 11am- 1pm on Wednesdays.

45

TRAVIS

The indie quartet surprised many people when their The Man Who album knocked Boyzone off the top of the album charts. Travis's steady rise above other indie guitar groups has been achieved by the chart success of well-chosen singles, lots of airplay and the fruits of constant touring. True to form, they undertake a massive 21-date trek round the UK this autumn.

Where and when: touring from 5 Oct to 1 Nov (credit-card hotline, 0115- 912 9126).

How much: tickets available for Sheffield, Hull, Cardiff & Nottingham; pounds 12-pounds 13.

46

DIVINITY, ECSTASY & REVELATION - SCRIABIN

Mikhail Pletnev, pianist-turned-conductor (above), has nurtured the Russian National Orchestra into one of the world's great ensembles. These three concerts wallow in the extraordinary, mystical outpourings of Alexander Scriabin, with Pierre Laurent-Aimard the soloist in the early Piano Concerto and the dazzling Promethee, complete with the special lighting effects this visionary fin-de-siecle composer envisaged to accompany it.

Where & when: Barbican Centre, London EC2 (0171-638 8891), 18-20 Nov.

How much: pounds 8-pounds 30.

47

BILLY CONNOLLY

Although he has developed a healthy career as an actor in the wake of Mrs Brown, Connolly's first love remains stand-up comedy. In Erect For 30 Years, he will be doing what he has been doing to great effect over the past three decades - viz, rambling for Britain.

Where and when: Apollo Hammersmith, London W6 (0870-606 3400) 19 Oct to 6 Nov.

How much: pounds 22.50 (other prices sold out).

48

CHRIS SMITHER

Contemporary bluesmen don't get much more world-weary than Chris Smither. But, as the title to his breakthrough album of a while back, Happier Blue, indicates, there is a little wit lurking amid the gloom of one of Bonnie Raitt's favourite songwriters. Ally that to impeccable guitar playing, and what more could you want?

Where and when: on tour, 21 Oct to 7 Nov.

How much: pounds 5-pounds 7.

49

BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET

The BRB's David Bintley stages a new Giselle (with Galina Samsova), and mounts a jazz programme to celebrate Duke Ellington's centenary. To his own Nutcracker Sweeties, with a Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn score, he adds two similar-style ballets: Slaughter on 10th Avenue, choreographed for Rodgers and Hart's 1936 On Your Toes; Shakespeare Suite uses more Duke Ellington for a parade of Shakespeare's hit-characters, and claims to convert Lady Macbeth and such like into fun.

Where and when: Hippodrome, Birmingham (0121-622 7486), 29 Sept to 2 Oct (Giselle); 6-8 Oct (jazz triple bill); then touring.

How much: pounds 6-pounds 36.

50

BARCELONA NIGHTS

If you enjoyed Radio 3's series on the Danube, then you'll like this. The grand opening of the Liceu Barcelona's Opera House on 7 October has prompted a special weekend of broadcasts live from Barcelona, voted next year's City of Culture. It opens with a new production of Puccini's Turandot by Nuria Espert, and later looks at the city's music, art, dance and drama, as well as its enviable culinary attractions.

Where and when: Radio 3, 14-18 Oct, various times during Fri, 5-11.30pm; Sat, 7-11.30pm; Sun, 7-10pm; Mon, 5-10.15pm.

THE EXPERTS

Our team of arts reviewers are: David Benedict (theatre), Xan Brooks (film), Andrew Clarke (classical & opera), Gerard Gilbert (TV), Tom Lubbock (art), Nadine Meisner (dance), James Rampton (TV and comedy), Fiona Sturges (radio) and Roger Trapp (jazz).

Note: as times, dates, prices and ticket availability are subject to change, readers are advised to ring venues to check details

NEXT WEEK: THE 50 BEST WAYS TO SAVE THE WORLD

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