OperaUpClose veer towards greatest-hits territory while a lupine concert holds toddlers transfixed
Has the V&A built a shrine to the great objects of British design, or curated a glorified jumble sale? Stephen Bayley wonders what to make of its new show
Ready Steady Go! may be the most fondly remembered 1960s pop TV show. It lasted barely three years, fading out, at the end of 1966, before it could outstay its welcome – like the sharp singles it helped to promote. Ray Davies and the producer Vicki Wickham's one-night-only revival for Meltdown can't resurrect the social club the studio became for the Beatles, Stones and Kinks, or the young dancing Mods who were almost trampled by careening cameras. The minimal set – a couple of period photo-decorated signs – is a letdown. But somehow, the spirit of pop at its most warmly creative catches light again.
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.
Bling on the dancers, but add an old hand
When the Royal Festival Hall was being refurbished, the Philharmonia moved next door.
The Saturday Column
A veteran artist has a history. And, it could be argued, a responsibility.
Fateful prophecies and exultant perorations – the enduring spirits of Leos Janacek and Josef Suk ascend from the valley of the shadow of death and another of Vladimir Jurowski’s beautifully crafted programmes for the London Philharmonic makes connections that will profoundly affect the way we hear these works in the future.
Letter uncovered in museum reveals how Edward Elgar was so bad at the trombone it made people laugh
You can only imagine Rachid Taha's reaction if he were to know that his early career as a DJ mixing Western and Eastern records in a Parisian nightclub in the 70s would lead him eventually to the throbbing makeshift dancefloor of the Royal Festival Hall's first two rows three decades later. It would probably be a cause of some jubilation for a man who's prided himself on his ability to cross geographical and stylistic boundaries.
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.
It doesn't make the heart leap
As a Member of Parliament, Boris Johnson's expenses claims ranked among the more mundane (78p for a postage stamp here, the odd Diet Coke there). Naturally, Pandora would never suggest the same of the London Mayor himself; indeed quite the opposite.
The alternative prince still rules
At the close of their 5-day residency at London’s South Bank Centre the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra played “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations with such unbridled fervour as to suggest that Venezuela might be our last remaining colony.