Ideal marriage

In all the heavier-duty excitement of Liszt’s anniversary I had failed to register that W.S. Gilbert expired 100 years ago; and, perhaps just as significant, the copyright of the D’Oyly Carte opera company expired 50 years ago. I am old enough to remember the fuss which that moment provoked — the highbrows hoping to kill

Arts feature

The art of collecting

Passion was in the air in the rooms of the Wallace Collection last week — or at least the word was at the inaugural Apollo seminar sponsored by specialist art broker Stackhouse Poland with AXA Art Insurance. ‘How do you collect art and antiques in today’s market?’ was the question and the panel, chaired by

More from Arts

Personal touch

In 2004 Jérôme Bel, one of the most provocative performance makers of our time, created Véronique Doisneau, a solo for a Paris Opera Ballet artist who was about to retire. On the immense empty stage of Palais Garnier in Paris, Doisneau, in practice clothes, shared with the public reflections on her career, her favourite ballet


False expectations

Here’s an idea from the heyday of radio comedy. A soap star about to get the chop improvises an unscripted deathbed recovery during a live broadcast in order to save his career. I think it was Tony Hancock who starred in that sketch. To expand it into a full-length play would be quite a challenge.

Get that girl

L.A. The Eighties. Hard rock is alive and well. Two smalltown hopefuls, Drew and Sherrie, arrive on Sunset Strip, as a German property developer is threatening to flatten it. Both find work in the same bar, and Drew has just plucked up the courage to tell Sherrie, ‘I think you’re really rad,’ when jaded rock


Cause for alarm

Whereas Don Giovanni seems, for assorted reasons, to be unfloatable at present, The Marriage of Figaro is virtually unsinkable, with Così somewhere between. In general it seems that comedies go in and out of favour and fashion more than tragedies or ‘straight’ works, though Figaro may be a glorious exception, like Die Meistersinger. It is


Care in the community

‘We all need to rendezvous every week. It keeps us all as a community,’ said Jane Copsey on the In Touch anniversary programme (produced by Cheryl Gabriel). The Radio 4 magazine for the blind and partially sighted has been around for 50 years dispensing advice and encouragement, hope and cheer. Nowadays it’s been cut to

Critics’ choice

I caught an intriguing session at the Cheltenham literary festival, titled ‘Secrets of the TV Critics’. As it happened, the main secret seemed to be that some of them liked a drink while they watched the box. In the distant days before advance DVDs and internet previews, one critic of the Daily Express used to


Melancholic visions

At the less than enticing Guildhall Art Gallery, a purpose-built museum that manages immediately to depress the spirits by its utterly unsympathetic design, is a major exhibition of John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836–93), the celebrated Victorian painter of moonlight. The show is the brainchild of Jane Sellars, director of the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, where it

Blots on the cityscape

As the 414 bus swings left from the Edgware Road at Marble Arch you avert your eyes, hoping you won’t have to look at the thing looming up in front of you for a single second longer than you have to. Even so, you know it’s there — a blot on the sky, a gulp


Zilch to care about

So, The Three Musketeers, and one for all, and all for one, but I wish it were every man for himself, and they’d all decided to call it a day and go their separate ways. This is a film of no charm whatsoever and I’d advise you to steer clear, walk the other way, keep