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Lloyd Evans

Hotchpotch of unshapely grottoes

The luvvies are in uproar. Just listen to the din. ‘Horrified,’ says Dame Judi Dench. ‘Disgraceful,’ spits Sir Peter Hall. Equity’s spokesman is officially ‘astonished’ and Sir Donald Sinden calls it ‘absurd’. They’re talking about the imminent closure of the V&A’s Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. The museum has been open since 1987 and it

Glories of paint

This is an example of the kind of exhibition which flourished for a while in the 1950s and 60s, and has sparked up occasionally since, like a partially active volcano — a show of work selected by a critic because he or she cares passionately about it. There was a famous series of Critic’s Choice

Fear of failure

The ‘Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, Painter, Sculptor and Architect’ of Giorgio Vasari’s Lives, the only living artist to be included in this compendious work, at one time or another denied he was any of the above, except ‘Florentine’. The only formal training he ever received was as a painter. But when Julius II called on him

In praise of Haitink

There was a unique event in Amsterdam last week, and the music-lovers who heard it felt a special glow. Bernard Haitink returned to the Concertgebouw, the orchestra with which he will forever be associated, and which he first conducted 50 years ago, to celebrate his ‘golden anniversary’ of music-making with a pair of symphonies by

The rise of Chinese pianists

The Chinese city of Shenzhen is vying with its rival Shanghai for cultural and economic supremacy. With 8 per cent of its population dollar millionaires, Deng Xiaoping’s showpiece economic zone now boasts a vast museum, sports complex, a state-of-the-art concert hall — and China’s first ever Piano Concerto Competition. As a keen observer of Asia’s

Stirred but not shaken

Tchaikovsky was interested in states of mind, but not in the people who have them, at least in his operas. That was what I came to feel as I thought about why his most fascinating operas are in some respects so absorbing and in others not, why I tend to be moved by them at

Wayward approach

Always recommended is the Arts Theatre, one of the West End’s loveliest venues. Being a small-scale joint, it’s not much of a cash-mine and its crusty fabric is in urgent need of a refit. The place keeps closing for repairs and then reopening a year later completely untouched. I like that. The bar is pricey

Genuine knowledge

New Hall women always struck male Cambridge undergraduates as being a bit otherworldly, living in their weirdly designed college where the staircases had alternate steps for left and right feet, which ought to work but doesn’t. Possibly few of them had ever watched television, which is why only five — the minimum of four players