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Igor Toronyi-Lalic on the important role opera played in the early days of cinema In 1978, the Swiss impresario Rolf Liebermann picked the veteran American director Joseph Losey to direct a film adaptation of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. At that point they hadn’t yet met or spoken but Liebermann, having passed over Franco Zeffirelli and

Domestic harmony

Home and Garden: Domestic Spaces in Paintings 1960–2004; Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, E2, until 4 February 2008 The final part of a quartet of exhibitions devoted to the subject of Home and Garden, competently supported by a useful catalogue, is currently enlivening the Geffrye Museum in London’s East End. It’s a pleasure to visit: the

Multiple choice | 24 November 2007

Lynn Painter-Stainers PrizePainters’ Hall, until 1 December Art competitions suffer from a basic problem: how to apply a first-past-the-post system designed for racing to art. In some cases, contestants don’t even qualify for the same event — this year’s Turner Prize, typically, pits film and photography against installation. To avoid this sort of stupidity, the

Elemental forces

Len Tabner Messum’s, 8 Cork Street, London W1, until 1 December For those of us who live in the British Isles there are two unassailable facts. We are island dwellers who live surrounded by turbulent seas. Our emotional lives, in other words how we experience our existence and express ourselves, often have recourse to rich

Snowy and friends

Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin is at the Playhouse Theatre, London, 6 December to 12 January; 0870 060 6631. The first time I saw Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin on stage it starred a West Highland white called Chester, playing Snowy. The dog’s is a walk-on part only; he’s rapidly substituted for a talking actor with a

Musical misfit

Demand for new musicals has reached the point where investors are ready to sink funds into a whole new method of production — the we-can’t-write-a-musical-so-let’s-write-a-musical school of musicals. In the latest effort the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan has been crossbred with the songs of Blondie. A terrible ugliness is born. The songs don’t fit

Botched job

Tell me, what hope is there left in the world when Harold Pinter, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh — and maybe Jude Law, should you wish to count him in — can come together and make a film as sterile, mindless, pointless and wearisome as this? I’d like to bang their heads together. I’d like to

Dual control

Le Nozze di FigaroThe Royal Academy of MusicL’elisir d’amore; Albert Herring Glyndebourne on Tour in Norwich It seems that every opera company that thought it might be a bit naff to stage Le Nozze di Figaro last year has decided that it would be smart to put it on this year, so that I have

Playing safe

Rambert Dance Company, Sadler’s Wells I am more and more convinced that getting easily bored is symptomatic of growing old. Twenty years ago, when I was 24, I stopped being a ballet boy and devoted myself to writing about dance; I seldom suffered from boredom, even when watching delectable rubbish. Nowadays, as soon as I

Shiver down the backbone

‘Just relax your fingers. Stick them on the fingerboard around the seventh fret. Bang!’ Jimi Hendrix comes to Radio Three. Even though the stations are slowly morphing into each other, with Michael Morpurgo being read on Radio Two (rather well by Robson Green, apart from his ascent into comically high falsetto every time he has

True lies

You cannot trust a single frame of any reality television show. I don’t mean they are deliberately mendacious, though some are, but nobody behaves normally when a camera is on them. Take those spontaneous conversations on speakerphone as someone bowls along in the car. You’re talking, you’re wondering if your hair is right, the poor