Arts

It's Christmas. You don't want Götterdämmerung. You want a waltz-operetta

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Grade: A– 1898: two Parisiennes and a housemaid secretly invite each other’s partners to the Paris Opera ball and… c’mon,…

David Schwimmer has produced a new film of Alexander Zeldin’s play LOVE for the BBC. [Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images]

David Schwimmer on his new BBC film

8 December 2018 9:00 am

David Schwimmer liked Alexander Zeldin’s play about poverty so much he has made it into a film. Tanya Gold got a preview

Carl Mullaney as a charismatic Dame in Lyric Hammersmith's Dick Whittington. [Photo: Tristram Kenton]

Lyric Theatre’s Dick Whittington is the opposite of festive garbage

8 December 2018 9:00 am

One of the biggest stars of the 1970s was the professional lard-bucket Mick McManus, who plied his trade as an…

Gaelle Arquez as Carmen in Barrie Kosky's production at the Royal Opera. [Photo: ROH / Bill Cooper]

Kosky’s Carmen is still the smartest show in town – and the most fun

8 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s December, and while musical theatre is busy celebrating ‘warm woollen mittens’, opera, as usual, is far more interested in…

Nothing much happens, yet there is so much to watch: Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. [Photograph: Carlos Somonte/Netflix]

Nothing much happens, yet there’s so much to watch: Roma reviewed

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Roma is the latest film from Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity,Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and…

Jessica Biel as Cora Tannetti. [Photo: BBC / Iron Ocean / Universal Cable Productions LLC]

The Sinner caters to the insatiable appetite teenage girls have for the sordid and sick

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Don’t watch The Sinner (originally on Netflix; now on BBC4) because, despite your better judgment, you’ll only get addicted after…

Listening to people talking about death can be strangely consoling

8 December 2018 9:00 am

‘Without death,’ says Salena Godden, ‘life would be a never-ending conveyor belt of sensation.’ For her death is what gives…

‘One World’ by Mark Wallinger

The winner of the 2018 What’s That Thing? Award for bad public art is...

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Not a bad year for the award. Honourable mentions must go to the landfill abstractions of Oxford’s new Westgate Centre,…

Read The Spectator article that gave birth to musical minimalism 50 years ago

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Fifty years ago, in a review by composer Michael Nyman, The Spectator helped christen a musical movement that came to dominate the world

Twiggy photographed by Justin de Villeneuve in the Rainbow Room at Big Biba, early 1970s. [JUSTIN DE VILLENEUVE]

A short history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, garden gates to Twiggy

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Peter York traces the history of art deco – from high art to two-tone shoes, and beyond

1975 was a great year for pop – worthy of a better band than The 1975

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Grade: C A derided year in pop music, 1975 — and yet a great one. The mainstream was horrible, but…

Gidon Kremer and the Kremerata Baltica performing performing Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Concertino for Violin and Strings in 2014. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito/ Getty Images

As a symphonist, Mieczyslaw Weinberg was a master: Weinberg Weekend reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

It’s a strange compliment to pay a composer — that the most profound impression their music makes is of an…

Keeping it in the family: Ruth Wilson playing her grandmother Alison in Mrs Wilson

Refreshingly understated: BBC1’s Mrs Wilson reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Shortly before her husband’s funeral, the undertaker told the eponymous main character in Mrs Wilson (BBC1, Tuesday) that, ‘We’re here…

Ivory plaque of a lioness mauling a man, ivory, gold, cornelian, lapis lazuli, Nimrud, 900 BC–700 BC. [© The Trustees of the British Museum]

The Assyrians of Ashurbanipal’s time were just as into pillage and destruction as Isis

1 December 2018 9:00 am

The Assyrians placed sculptures of winged human-headed bulls (lamassus) at the entrances to their capital at Nineveh, in modern Mosul,…

Matthew Ball as Ted Feltham in the Royal Ballet's The Unknown Soldier. Photo: ROH, Helen Maybanks

Has the Royal Ballet found its hero?

1 December 2018 9:00 am

The Royal Ballet is a company in search of a prince. It has no lack of dancing princesses. You could…

Joanna Murray-Smith as Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo: Robbie Jack/ Corbis via Getty Images

Intelligent, unfussy, literate – the West End needs more plays like this: Switzerland reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

I know nothing about Patricia Highsmith. The acclaimed American author wrote the kind of Sunday-night crime thrillers that put me…

The story of the cook who spent 10 years preparing food for those on death row

1 December 2018 9:00 am

You don’t need headphones to appreciate, and catch on to, the unique selling point of radio: its immediacy, its directness,…

Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola in Disobedience

A major missed opportunity: Disobedience reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Disobedience is an adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel about forbidden, lesbian love in orthodox Jewish north London, starring Rachel Weisz…

Court in the act: Simon Paisley Day as Sir Walter Raleigh in Ralegh: The Treason Trial at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Join a Jacobean jury at the Globe. Early modern theatre goes immersive – will it work?

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Would a modern jury have convicted Sir Walter Raleigh of treason? Kate Maltby considers the evidence

‘Flip Top’, 1962, by Richard Smith

In the 1960s the brightest star of British art was Richard Smith – and you can see why

24 November 2018 9:00 am

It is easy to assume that the contours of art history are unchanging, its major landmarks fixed for ever. Actually,…

Hrachuhi Bassenz as Amelia Grimaldi in Elijah Moshinsky's Boccanegra for the Royal Opera. Photo: Clive Barda

This Boccanegra is not what you'd expect from UK's best-funded opera company

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Plus: the Royal Opera chorus aren't in the same league as the Welsh National Opera's, who were on top form in Prokofiev's War & Peace

Diego Luna as Felix Gallardo in Netflix's latest series of Narcos. Photo: Carlos Somonte / Netflix

No, Narcos, those who’ve had the odd puff and cheeky line aren’t to blame for the drug wars

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Narcos is back on Netflix, set in Mexico this time, with a cool, world-weary, manly voiceover swearily lecturing us at…

Michelle Obama during the 2008 Democrat primaries. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Is Michelle Obama a secret Archers fan?

24 November 2018 9:00 am

I wonder what Michelle Obama, the former First Lady who remade that role in her own image, would make of…

Vadim Muntagirov as Solor and Marianela Nunnez as Nikiya in Royal Ballet's Bayadère. Photo: ROH / Bill Cooper

How could anyone object to the Royal Ballet engaging in cultural appropriation?

24 November 2018 9:00 am

La Bayadère opens with a sacred flame and ends with an earthquake. In between, Marius Petipa’s ballet of 1877 gives…

Astonishingly powerful: Michelle Terry as Lady Macbeth and Paul Ready as Macbeth

One of the finest productions I’ve seen at the Globe – a triumph of crony casting: Macbeth reviewed

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Michelle Terry, chatelaine of the Globe, wants to put an end to penis-led Shakespeare by casting women in roles intended…