Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Culture House Pick of the Week: Minogue, Mahler, Strauss and Johansson

FILM: Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer) 

Critics who saw it at the Venice Film Festival thought it either ‘laughably bad’ or a ‘masterpiece’. This week you get the chance to decide whether Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, in which Scarlett Johansson plays a kind of alien butcher on the hunt for human meat to ferry back to a group of extraterrestrial gourmands, is in the mould of Glazer’s Oscar-nominated Sexy Beast or, like his Birth, will sink without trace.

OPERA: Die Frau ohne Schatten, Royal Opera House

Richard Strauss’ barmy opera about a part-human, part-gazelle Empress whose husband will turn to stone unless she can find a shadow for herself (and you thought you had problems) opens this Friday at the Royal Opera House. With conductor Semyon Bychkov at the helm and a strong cast, it’s sure to be a high point of the 2014 Strauss celebrations.

Die Frau ohne Schatten opens Friday 14 March at the Royal Opera House

TV: I Was There, BBC Two

In what could be one of the highlights of the anniversary year, the BBC are airing never-before-seen interviews with First World War eye-witnesses – testimonies that were filmed in the 1960s but never made it into the landmark series, The Great War.

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I Was There airs Friday 15 March on BBC Two at 9pm

MUSIC: Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony 

Visits by cash-strapped American orchestras are getting rarer and rarer. So, be sure to catch the San Francisco Symphony on their three-day sojourn in the UK. Chief conductor Michael Tilson Thomas offers up a spread of Ives, Adams, Berlioz and Mahler’s Third Symphony.

The San Fransisco Symphony plays at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, on Friday and  at the Royal Festival Hall, London, Saturday and Sunday.

ALBUMS: George Michael’s Symphonica; Kylie Minogue’s Kiss Me Once

No short blonde woman or averagely built dark-haired man say the 80s quite like Kylie Minogue and George Michael.

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