A genuine oddity

The most compelling pop singers in music right now — at least in the branch where pop singers still play guitars — were on stage last week. The 1975, fronted by Matty Healy, finished the tour in support of their second album, a US and UK number one, with a headline show at the Latitude

Hadyn recreated

‘Rarely, rarely, comest thou, Spirit of Delight!’ wrote Elgar, quoting Shelley, at the top of his Second Symphony. He should have listened to more Haydn. Sir Simon Rattle certainly has. Rattle becomes music director of the London Symphony Orchestra in September, and for the last concert before their union becomes official, he’d trawled through Haydn’s

Arts feature

Ivory towers

Great novels rarely make great movies, but for half a century one director has been showing all the others how it’s done. James Ivory has worked his magic on all sorts of authors, from Kazuo Ishiguro to Henry James, and this week the finest of all his adaptations returns to the big screen. ‘A film


Out of sorts at the RSC

The RSC’s summer blockbuster is about Queen Anne. It’s called Queen Anne. It opens at the Inns of Court where drunken wags are satirising the royals with a naughty sketch about boobs and beer guts. Everyone on stage pretended this was hilarious. A few audience members did too, out of politeness. The principal characters arrive


New kid on the block

The new Grange Park Opera at Horsley is amazing, as everyone who visits it must agree. In less than a year a pretty large, comfortable theatre, with excellent acoustics and a large stage, has been erected from nothing, and among the first productions is one of Die Walküre, a demanding work in all respects, and


Dethroned by feminism

I’m a bit worried about Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic). Not seriously worried: there’s too much money invested, too much narrative hinterland accrued, too much fan-loyalty not to frustrate, too engaging a cast, too brilliant an original conception for the makers to cock it up too badly. Nevertheless, there were a couple of things that


A game for two

Some art can be made in solitude, straight out of the artist’s head. But portraiture is a game for two. That’s the lesson of The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt, a marvellous little exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. It is essentially a medley of Old Master works on papers from various British collections


Visual, visceral, confusing

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk has already been described as ‘a masterpiece’ and ‘a glorious, breathtakingly vivid triumph’, but we need to be cautious. Look at all the fuss about Baby Driver and what an average film that turned out to be. This certainly isn’t your regular war film — no one, for example, says ‘it’s quiet’


The joy of the Proms

Summer nights, hot and humid, mean just one thing — it’s Proms season again. Sore feet, sweaty armpits, queuing outside the ladies loos, home on the Underground with a head and heart buzzing with Bruckner or Bacharach, Handel or Honegger. Just as special is the nightly feast on Radio 3 — a live concert, guaranteed