Arts feature

‘You’re always learning’

Henrietta Bredin talks to Sally Burgess about taking on the role of Carmen Just as dancers are fortunate if they have especially long legs and strong, flexible feet, there are all sorts of different physical attributes that can help a singer to produce a good sound. But there’s a particular facial, or cranial, disposition which

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Self styled

Whitechapel at War: Isaac Rosenberg and his circle Ben Uri Gallery, 108a Boundary Road. London NW8, until 8 June It seems that Isaac Rosenberg thought of himself as a poet rather than as a painter, but that is to undervalue his distinct dual contribution as an artist. Although he exhibited little in his short lifetime,

Birtwistle’s brilliance

The Minotaur Royal Opera For the first time in the 12 years that I have been reviewing opera weekly, I have been to the first performance of a masterpiece. The Minotaur, so far as I can tell from one intense experience, has all of Harrison Birtwistle’s strengths and none of his weaknesses. He likes to

The big sleep

Small Change Donmar War and Peace, I and II Hampstead Oh my God. Did that really happen? I knew nothing about Peter Gill’s 1976 play, Small Change, before arriving at the Donmar to see this revival under the author’s own direction. It’s a love letter, an immensely detailed and spectacularly superficial account of the working-class

Too black and white

Persepolis 12A, London and key cities Persepolis, an animated feature about coming of age in Iran, is kind of interesting and is kind of original but its telling moments are told so often it’s like going out to dinner and being served the same course over and over. You’ll look at it coming and think,

Ill Met by moonlight

Nothing is sacred or unchanging. One of Radio Three’s most reliable sources of musical pleasure, the weekly Saturday opera relay from the Metropolitan in New York, has recently rendered itself all but unbearable. Not in performance standards, which continue a norm of decency and are at best superlative — casting just about the best money

Talking too much

Something so weird has happened to the way we live now that Radio Two has decided it needs to dedicate a week’s programming to Let’s Talk About Sex. It’s designed, says the billing in Radio Times, ‘to encourage parents to speak more freely to their children about sex and relationships’. But there’s already so much

Farewell, Foyle

So it’s goodbye to Foyle’s War (Sunday, ITV), for the time being at least. The series seems to have been cancelled not because it was no good; it was, for a TV ’tec drama, superb. Nor because it had poor ratings — they were huge for today’s crowded television schedules. The reason seems to be

Art in Kew

In the 19th century, the painting of flowers was mainly the preserve of maiden ladies with too much time on their hands, whose watercolours would be framed by indulgent brothers, and hung on bedroom walls. Scientific botanical painting was left to talented, poorly paid artists, whose work was reproduced in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and other