Royal Opera House, London
The Royal Ballet
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Sunday 30 November 2008
Sunday 16 November 2008
Thursday 06 November 2008
Monday 03 November 2008
I don't want to say anything," a woman says, "but... it's nasty." Her upper body is calm, but her feet shuffle frantically under her. The words in Lloyd Newson's To Be Straight With You come from interviews with people telling their stories, talking about homosexuality, race and religion.
Tuesday 28 October 2008
To understand the new "Opera House of the North", look to the arts world's most important northerner. The present Secretary of State for Culture, Andy Burnham, has told me that he believes his own department is too "London-centric", that the arts world can be "patronising to the provinces" and that our national institutions, not least the Royal Opera House, need to start showing their wares outside of the capital.
Friday 19 September 2008
The original spaghetti western is back and cooked to perfection – al dente – by Antonio Pappano. This is the eighth revival of Piero Faggioni's rip-roaring production, and surely the most fabulously conducted yet. From its thumping CinemaScope-style opening – our first wide shot of Kenneth Adams's sensationally realistic settings – the sweep and swoon of Pappano's conducting is matched by his unerring ear for the opera's narrative detail. There are times – and this is one – when I think that Puccini's big-hearted homage to the Land of the Free is his most accomplished, resourceful and sonically beautiful orchestral score. It exudes the best kind of sentimentality, aching with nostalgia for the old West – and it took an Italian to write it.
Friday 22 August 2008
It's rare to see dancers, who are so vulnerable to injury, risking dangerous conditions. Most dance shows are called off at the first sign of wet – or at least held up, while everyone gets the mops out. In one of the oddest interruptions, The Royal Ballet once had to stop the ghostly second act of Giselle when the atmospheric dry ice left a layer of slippery grease all over the stage.
Thursday 14 August 2008
Petite, with dark hair, a pretty, oval face and ideal proportions, Maryon Lane had the quintessential looks of a ballerina of her time. Born in Zululand in 1931, she was one of an important group of young dancers from the Commonwealth who found success in England.
Sunday 04 May 2008
Recorded live in December 1981, when period instruments were still a novelty and Gluck's reputation as a dramatist had yet to be fully restored, this vintage performance of 'Alceste' has vitality and freshness.
Sunday 27 April 2008
Wednesday 19 March 2008
Friday 29 February 2008
Wednesday 17 May 2006
The European Commission had a delicate path to negotiate when it came to yesterday's pronouncement on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. Too negative an assessment would have risked provoking resentment and charges of double standards. At worst, one or other country, or both, might simply have decided that there was no point in continuing to reform.
Tuesday 04 April 2006
Saturday 11 March 2006
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