THE CRITICAL LIST: THIS WEEK'S RECOMMENDATIONS

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The Independent Culture
The performance

Following her collaboration with Brian Eno on Storage Space in an empty Wembley warehouse, Laurie Anderson returns to the stage with Nerve Bible, her first multimedia techno-show for five years. Nerve Bible hits Birmingham (tomorrow), Glasgow (Sat), Manchester (Sun) and London's Royal Festival Hall (Mon, Tue, Wed).

Tenor colossus Sonny Rollins swings into the Bath Forum on Thursday. However, it's anyone's guess what he'll be doing when he gets there. Over the years Rollins has established a reputation for repertory unpredictability. He's as likely to extemporise on the theme to Blue Peter as he is to get stuck into the endless changes of "Blue Seven". A living legend. Booking: 01225 448831

Hay-on-Wye comes into its own this weekend when the 8th festival opens. Catch Jeremy Paxman (left), Fay Weldon and Bernice Rubens (Sat), Margaret Drabble, Barry Norman, William Boyd and Ken Russell (Sun), Brian Keenan, Arnold Wesker, Hanif Kureishi, Margaret Atwood (Mon) and a whole week of talks, performances and music. Details: 01497 821299

American heart-throb baritone Rodney Gilfry debuts as Herman Melville's starry-eyed midshipman - with John Tomlinson and Graham Clark as the evil Claggart and goody-goody Vere - in Britten's seagoing opera Billy Budd, returning to Covent Garden tomorrow in its original four-act version for the first time since its 1951 premiere. Booking: 0171-304 4000

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