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A swan to die for at Sadler’s Wells

Swans, swans, more swans. If the lifespan of a dance critic were calculated by the number of performances of Swan Lake attended, I’d be a few centuries old. Obviously, the list includes many revisions and re-creations of this quintessential ballet, which is the second most revisited in history after The Rite of Spring. In her

Has the rake progressed?

Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress has been a rich resource for artists. Film-makers recognise his modern moral subjects as an ancestor to the storyboard. But in this age of mass media can the format still hold its own and tell us something about ourselves? A new exhibition at the Foundling Museum (until 7 September) suggests so.



Manon Lescaut: Puccini’s Anna Nicole?

This season has already seen Manon Lescaut appear in several different operatic guises across the UK, but it was Covent Garden’s new production of Puccini’s version (its first staging of it in three decades) that was the hottest ticket of all. The Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais and the superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann were tackling the




Walking on Sunshine: the feel-ennui musical of the year

As far as ‘jukebox films’ go, Mamma Mia! was a riot, Sunshine on Leith was tolerable, just about, while Walking on Sunshine is a step too far and brings the genre to its knees.It’s being billed as ‘the feel-good musical of the year’ although, bereft of a single original idea, ‘the feel-ennui musical of the


The gardener-soldiers of the First World War

First, a confession. Even an ardent radio addict can enjoy a fortnight away from the airwaves, disconnected, switched off, unlistening. On return even the programmes that are usually ignored because they’ve become so familiar catch your attention. I grew up with Gardeners’ Question Time as a regular weekly slot on Sunday afternoons, snooze time for