April 2009 Archives


Katie Mitchell's latest film and theatre piece is called After Dido. As the title was meant to signal its being inspired by Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, it should probably have been baptised "Long After Dido."  (Part of) what the audience heard at the Young Vic (where this collaboration with the English National Opera was staged) was a live performance of the Purcell Opera, with Susan Bickley doubling convincingly as Dido and the Sorceress. What we saw on the large cinema screen, however, were three tales of loss, lightly linked to Virgil's tale.
April 29, 2009 3:41 PM | | Comments (0)
A not very significant British politician is supposed to have said "A week's a long time in politics." I've been thinking about my last week in "culture," which didn't seem very long at all; indeed, it passed in a flash, though there was a fair bit of commuting between Oxfordshire and London involved. 
The third revival of Elijah Moshinsky's 2002 production of Il Trovatore at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, was always going to be most interesting for  Roberto Alagna's having another crack at Manrico, following his booing at La Scala last year. For the first time I can remember, we had to leave the opera at the interval, as I was feeling distinctly queasy, and it wasn't the fault or Alagna or even of American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky's wobbly-intoned Leonora (I hear she improved later). So I didn't last long enough to hear that Alagna attempted only the top B Verdi actually wrote in "Di quella pura," rather than the show-off C most tenors interpolate. He certainly did nothing to light my fire in the first two acts. 
April 20, 2009 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)

In October, 2007 when the National Theatre premiered War Horse, based on a novel by children's writer Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford and performed in association with Handspring Puppet Company, you can perhaps understand why, thinking it was intended as a Christmas offering for kids, I gave it a miss.

Not the first mistake I ever made; but, now that I've seen its transfer to the West End at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane, one of the most foolish. War Horse is as theatrical a production as I've seen since Black Watch - which I mean as high praise (though I know these are precisely the grounds my friend John Rockwell gave for disliking the physically demanding play about the disbanding of the Scottish regiment).

April 9, 2009 5:32 PM | | Comments (0)

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