First seen as part of a 1912 double bill, Ariadne auf Naxos was revised and reshaped as Europe plunged into the carnage of the First World War. Strauss was profoundly relieved when his son, Franz, was declared unfit for military service. But his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, had already served as a reservist when the now familiar version of their backstage comedy on high and low art premiered in Vienna in 1916, four days after the assassination of the prime minister in the dining room of a hotel a few minutes' walk from the opera house.
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Monday 01 February 2010
To find that a shift in the rules of submission excluded a whole year of fiction from Booker eligibility is like the discovery, in some tale of the uncanny, of a secret room in a Gothic mansion. As the heavy door swings open with an ominous creak, what can lie inside? Hidden treasures, ghastly remains – or just a pile of dusty, dated bric-a-brac? In the event, the long-list of 22 titles from 1970 devised by Peter Straus and the Man Booker team contains much more imperishable gold than quaint period dross. The wisdom of hindsight does play a part in the range and robustness of this list. It stretches from high-carat modern classics (Patrick White's The Vivisector, Muriel Spark's The Driver's Seat, Shiva Naipaul's Fireflies, J G Farrell's Troubles), through youthful works by now celebrated names, to a formidable hand of top-flight historical novels. In scope and style it runs all the way from a late work by a literary child of the Thirties, HE Bates (creator of much else besides Pop Larkin and his tribe), to rebel playwright Joe Orton's foray into fiction.
Sunday 24 January 2010
If you've ever wanted to play lord or lady of the manor but don't have quite the correct amount of disposable income, help is at hand. The Wow House Company has all kinds of sprawling stately homes on its books, all available for you or me to rent for a weekend or longer. Just add friends or family, lashings of food and drink and, perhaps, a special occasion to celebrate, then let the good times roll...
Sunday 10 January 2010
From the action-packed band name to the obligatory long song titles, from the witless blare of the vocals to the compressed blandness of the guitar sound, this is bog-standard emo ordinaire.
Friday 30 October 2009
An American Werewolf in London also does milieu well. When you think of the hamfisted way most American directors handle Englishness (anyone for Match Point?), Landis's sure sense of the social strata, from creepy Yorkshire pub to yuppie London mansion-flat, is remarkable.
Sunday 20 September 2009
City bankers, Indian business moguls and a celebrity or two are among potential buyers already chasing the £12.5m Kelly Hoppen-styled mansion at London's exclusive 100 Clifton Hill which is being put on the market this week by developer Regal Homes.
Friday 21 August 2009
Saturday 25 July 2009
Three Tory candidates put their cases to the public today in Britain's first "open primary" style election for a prospective MP.
Wednesday 01 July 2009
Being bastard born is no longer the social disaster it once was.
Friday 26 June 2009
A Kent landowner could lose out on a huge pay-cheque as a result of Michael Jackson's death. Jackson had booked up to stay in Foxbury Manor in Chislehurst, moving its owners out to a pad in Orpington.
Wednesday 17 June 2009
A sobering line in Mervyn King's Mansion House speech last night: "Stress tests designed to assess the viability of banks are very different from tests of the capacity of the banking system to finance a recovery".
Wednesday 10 June 2009
Sunday 07 June 2009
If Celtic Manor becomes flooded in the first week in June, then imagine what could happen in the first week of October. Never mind the Gortex, it is frogmen uniforms the American Ryder Cup team should consider decking out in stars and stripes.
Friday 05 June 2009
Saturday 23 May 2009
The Russian tycoon Shalva Chigirinsky has pledged his French Riviera villa and proceeds from the sale of his London mansion to Sibir Energy, the London-listed oil company he holds a 46 per cent stake in.
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
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