Convincing performances and unexpected sounds: Opera Holland Park’s Delius/Puccini double bill reviewed

Delius and Puccini: how’s that for an operatic odd couple? Delius, that most faded of British masters, now remembered largely as a purveyor of wistful aquarelles. And…well, and Puccini. Early, neglected Puccini, true, but this is Opera Holland Park, where they make it their mission to rescue the waifs and strays of Italian late romanticism, and see how they scrub up. Demonstrable dud by unfashionable Englishman vs youthful ambition from Italian opera’s ultimate marquee name. We all knew, in advance, how that was likely to play out. And we were all wrong. It turns out that both Puccini’s Le Villi (1884) and Delius’s Margot la Rouge (1902) were written for

David Keenan, literary disruptor in chief

Near to the heart of this wild and labyrinthine novel — on page 516 of 808 — a character in a letter addressed to his future self within the reminiscence of a disfigured and imprisoned second world war sailor who will subsequently be transformed via sorcery, surgery and sex into a medium and prophet, eventually finding his way to Scotland where he will marry his own wife again, though possibly not in that order, states the following: My studies in magic and experimental psychology and of course alchemy suggested that the goal of magical practice, which had become the goal of art practice, was a reuniting of fractured selves across