London’s Southbank Centre is to bring its Festival Wing out of the 1960s and into the 21st century with a £100m overhaul that marks the “final piece in the jigsaw” in the transformation of the cultural venue.
Royal Festival Hall, London
Aimee Mann may have risen to prominence thanks to her music’s key role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 masterpiece Magnolia, but the darkness of some of that film perhaps added an extra layer of melancholy to the work of an artist whose catalogue is usually a few shades lighter.
Emmy award-winning British composer George Fenton conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra and special guest soloist Haley Glennie-Smith, in a stunning performance that combines emotional and provocative live orchestra music with awe-inspiring reworked HD footage from the landmark BBC series Planet Earth.
The intention of this live slice of comedy history was to commemorate some of those who shaped a new comedy scene in Britain, but it served mainly as a reminder that “alternative comedy” was often not as funny as it thought it was.
This time last year, a relatively unknown singer/songwriter named Rumer was celebrating the culmination of a decade-long slog for recognition with her first record deal. Since then, the 31-year-old hasn't wasted a moment making up for lost time.
Robin and Lucienne Day were the most glamorous, influential design couple in post-war Britain.
Striding onstage in his trademark Wolfie Smith black beret, jeans and shirt, Richard Thompson grins sheepishly at the applause, hefts his powder-blue Stratocaster and makes a few self-deprecating noises about being here at the Festival Hall yet again. It's now almost a second home for Tommo, who curated last year's Meltdown Festival here – and if the place ever needed a house band, they could do far worse than Thompson's current unit, whose members seem able to turn their hands to just about any style, in any metre required.
A veteran artist has a history. And, it could be argued, a responsibility.
The programme for Richard Thompson's Meltdown festival carries a photograph of Thompson in his salad days – taken, probably, in the late Sixties or early Seventies, some time around his founding of Fairport Convention and his marital and musical union with Linda Thompson. A little Nick Drake-like, he gazes wistfully off-shot. It feels iconic. But while for a lot of people Thompson's name might ring a bell, ask them to hum one of his tunes and you'll probably draw a blank.
Sprightly Cale still sparkles
Welsh National Opera gets up a good head of steam, and fragments of Gogol are a tantalisingly brief encounter
Bryn Terfel arrived in the capital armed with countless sneers and as many ways to make mischief. His latest album, Bad Boys – a comprehensive gallery of operatic rogues and villains – was now a tour, and there was a big, glossy, souvenir programme to prove it.
A sumptuous production of Thomas Arne's Italian-influenced opera, and tributes to Keith Volans, Steve Reich and Sibelius
After Trevor Nunn’s futile attempt to turn The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess into a book and song musical how bracing to return to the through-sung original where only the whites get to speak – or rather are denied the gift of song.
The family that plays together...