The Critical List: An essential guide to the arts this weekend

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The Independent Culture
WHY ISN'T Jean Rigby a household name? Is it because she's a mezzo-soprano? The higher the voice, the wider the fame (and, often, the waistband). Is it because she's English? Too many operagoers take home- grown talent for granted. Rigby has a hugely impressive vocal and dramatic range which she displayed in last April's performance of Bernstein's Songfest where she sang the other soloists off the stage.

This Sunday she is taking part in a rare performance of Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Festival Hall. Conducted by Andrew Davies, all tickets for this choral masterwork / dramatic symphony are pounds 10. A serious bargain.

Scottish Opera's production of Maria Stuarda is at Glasgow's Theatre Royal tonight, boasting Yvonne Kenny in the title role. Those unlucky enough not to get in can stay home and curl up with Radio 3's live transmission but they will, of course, miss out on Stefanos Lazaridis' production and anyone who saw his outstanding sets for Hansel and Gretel at ENO will want to be there.

At a cinema near you comes Zhang Yimou's To Live, currently showing in Edinburgh, Brighton and all over London. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Actor prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, it is a historical epic told as black farce. Yimou skillfully portrays Chinese history, and, in particular, the cultural revolution in a less than favourable light and this week's reviews should encourage filmgoers to hotfoot it to the box-office. Its director, alas, won't be hotfooting anywhere for a while. The Ministry of Radio, Film and Television has banned him from working on foreign co-productions and from attending foreign film festivals.

Filmgoers in the Midlands are in for a treat with the Birmingham International Film and TV Festival which opened yesterday with a packed schedule of screenings, debates and special events. There will be a discussion tonight at BBC Pebble Mill with members of the production team of the forthcoming adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit, while on Sunday there's a unique screening of Kieslowski's powerful Three Colours trilogy, including the British premiere of Three Colours: Red. TV connossieurs may like to spend the weekend preparing for Wednesday's big event, the 30th anniversary of Crossroads. The Old Rep theatre is playing host to the ex- stars and producers of this, the Parthenon of popular culture.

Another gathering of stars is happening at Leicester's Haymarket Theatre where Paul Kerryson is directing Stephen Sondheim's Follies. He has wisely jettisoned the 1987 re- writes and restored the original material. A must for musical enthusiasts.

Anyone with time on their hands who is remotely interested in painting, however, should catching a train, boat or plane and travel to Newcastle for the Bonnard exhibition which is in its last two weeks. Heart-stoppingly beautiful.

Booking: RFH (071-928 8800); Glasgow Theatre Royal (041-332 9000); Edinburgh Cameo (041-928 4141); Brighton Duke of York's (0273 602 503); Curzon West End (071- 369 1722); Screen on the Hill (071-435 3366); Odeon Kensington (071-371 3166); Richmond Filmhouse (081-332 0030); Birmingham Film Festival (021-634 4213); Leicester Haymarket (0533 530021); Newcastle Laing Art Gallery (091-232 7734)

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