Arts feature

Dangerous territory

Henrietta Bredin talks to Janis Kelly about her role in Rufus Wainwright’s first opera, Prima Donna Anyone less like the clichéd idea of a prima donna than Janis Kelly would be hard to find. She is known and loved as a singer and consummate actress with a conspicuous lack of airs and graces who will

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Summer round-up

It’s a rewarding moment for a stroll round the London galleries. Good art is still being made and exhibited (some of it even selling), while more historical figures such as Winifred Nicholson (1893–1981) and Robert Motherwell (1915–91) are being accorded the benefit of monographs and mini-retrospectives. Winifred Nicholson is often overshadowed by the ambitious and

Unmoved by Violetta

La Traviata Royal Opera House Roberto Devereux Opera Holland Park The Royal Opera’s press and marketing departments, normally no slouches when it comes to alliterative vulgarities, have missed a golden opportunity. With Berg’s Lulu drawing thin houses, getting thinner as the evening proceeds, alternating with La Traviata, Renée Fleming starring, and a packed house, more

Desperate journey

Year One 12A, Nationwide Year One is the latest Jack Black comedy and while I would not wish to put you off — my job is to gently guide, not instruct — it is fantastically bad and you’d be mad to go see it. Anything would be better, and more amusing. Self-harming in a bathroom

Vow of poverty

The Cherry Orchard Old Vic A Skull in Connemara Riverside Here’s a peculiarity of Chekhov productions that tour the world. There’s never any furniture. OK, there’s some. A card table maybe, a few spindly chairs, a samovar, a hat-stand, the odd stool. Matchwood accessories. But the sturdy oaken mammoths of Victorian decor, the chests and

Diaghilev still dazzles

Ballets Russes English National Ballet, Sadler’s Wells I think Diaghilev would have been thrilled to attend the opening night of English National Ballet’s centenary celebrations of his Ballets Russes. Not unlike his famously orchestrated 1909 dress rehearsal at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris, ENB’s performance was attended by a glamorous array of stars, celebrities and

Alternative view

With diffidence, I differ from my esteemed opera colleague. But I think Michael Tanner has got the new Covent Garden Lulu (Arts, 13 June) upside down. Catching it by chance a few nights ago, I’ll take the opportunity for an alternative opinion. First, for where we don’t differ. Singing is always adequate, sometimes outstanding, and

Celebs take to the streets

Famous, Rich and Homeless (BBC1) Psychoville (BBC2) Famous, Rich and Homeless, made by Love Productions for BBC1, and shown over Wednesday and Thursday nights, was a mess. It almost worked, but in the end it failed. For one thing, the five participants in the experiment were not particularly famous, and I doubt if any were

Caring for Naples

A curious programme on the World Service on Friday reminded us that although we’re now embarking on a new kind of technological revolution, dominated by twittering, downloading, waking up to John Humphrys not in BH but Karachi, we’ve not quite lost our connection with the mindset of the Middle Ages. On Blood and Lava Malcolm