Arts feature

House style

Last Sunday, I went to see two of the greatest paintings in Britain — at least in the estimation of our Georgian ancestors. When they first arrived here, in 1790, they were accompanied by a special naval escort. After Turner saw one of them, he said the experience made him both ‘pleased and unhappy’, because

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What’s the buzz?

Crystal Pite, the Canadian dancemaker who combines intellectual, emotional and physical intelligence in rare degree, is classically trained, but her work is most often made for and performed by contemporary companies. Hence the attraction of this Edinburgh International Festival programme. Scottish Ballet, in the European premiere of a piece Pite made for the National Ballet

Where new is good

On Saturday night, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra makes its first appearance at the BBC Proms under its new music director, the 30-year-old Lithuanian Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla. It’s all a bit sudden. Grazinyte-Tyla only conducted the CBSO for the first time last July, and she’ll have made her debut as official successor to Simon Rattle,


Doctor Death

‘European premiere of classic American musical’ is a phrase that deeply alarms the experienced playgoer. As I tootled along to Southwark Playhouse I asked myself why this Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece had taken so long to plough its way across the ocean. In 1947 the Broadway prodigies decided to follow up their first two hits,


When autumn comes

You know when late summer has arrived because conkers are starting to form on the horse chestnuts, your eagerness to get the kids back to school has reached fever pitch, and another season of The Great British Bake Off (BBC1, Wednesdays) has begun. If it feels like there has never, ever been a time when


Red hot

Everything about Julieta feels totally Almodóvarian. It’s a family saga that smoothly blends tragedy and levity, with exquisite performances from a company of passionate actresses. It looks carefully ravishing. Many of the director’s abiding themes are here: terminal illness, sudden death, a mother’s love for her child, men hanging about the fringes. And yet it


Distant voices

One of the weirdest responses when someone close to you dies is the gradual realisation that now at last you know them fully. They become to you complete, rounded, fully themselves, in a way that just does not seem possible while they are still alive. It’s so frustrating. Just when you’re at last ready and