Igor Toronyi-Lalic

Igor Toronyi-Lalic is arts editor of The Spectator

Dismantle the maestro myth and classical music will suffer

The news that conductor John Eliot Gardiner is thin-skinned, ill-mannered and thuggish should not be news to anyone. Or not to any Spectator readers anyway. ‘What, one wonders, will John Eliot Gardiner be chiefly remembered for?’ wrote Stephen Walsh in October 2013. ‘Perhaps, by many who have worked with him, for his notorious rudeness to

In defence of the Arts Council

I once knew a monster who said she could not read Proust because there were no figures in Proust with whom she could identify… Theodor W. Adorno, ‘Aesthetics’ (1958-59) Getting an audience to identify themselves in a work – ‘being seen’ – is one of the only reasons why art is commissioned, celebrated or even

The West has much to learn from Hungarian culture

In central Budapest a crew from Hungary’s state TV is filming the unveiling of a new street sign. In honour of his centenary year composer Gyorgy Ligeti now has a road named after him. Contemporary classical music is deemed newsworthy in Hungary. Even more astonishingly – and anyone working in British classical music might want

Kate Andrews, Igor Toronyi-Lalic and Ivo Dawnay

17 min listen

This week: Kate Andrews on the NHS and the celebrations that marked its 75th birthday (01:05), Igor Toronyi-Lalic is in Marseille watching with interest as the riots happen around him (06:57) and Ivo Dawnay describes how being related to Boris is cramping his style oversees (11:13). Produced and presented by Linden Kemkaran. 

The fine art of French rioting

Marseille One of the benefits of holidaying during a riot is you feel remarkably safe. Ruffians have no interest in you while they can be having fun at the expense of a much more exciting foe, the police. And besides, there are Lacoste stores to be raided: they have no time for your wallet. The other

Unopposed: Why is Starmer making life easy for the PM?

42 min listen

Is Keir Starmer becoming irrelevant? (00:50) Do the Oscars really celebrate the best that film has to offer? (15:55) Jordon Peterson is back with his new book, Beyond Order, but is it beyond readable? (25:40) With the Spectator‘s political editor James Forsyth; broadcaster and former Labour adviser Ayesha Hazarika; writer Fiona Mountford; the Spectator‘s arts

Why are the Oscars such a lousy guide to great cinema?

Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, predicted to win big at this year’s Oscars, is not a terrible film. It’s a slight, sentimental Grapes of Wrath-ish journey through the Discourse, with essential Discourse stop-offs at an Amazon warehouse and the rust belt. It belongs in the New Yorker, not on screen. As with almost every film to win

The long winter – why Covid restrictions could last until April

39 min listen

Why does the government think the second wave will be worse than the first? (00:49) Will a Biden presidency restore America’s fortunes? (18:45) And finally, does Covid mark the end for the silver screen? (30:10) Spectator editor Fraser Nelson talks to Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford; editor of The

Is toppling a statue an act of performance art?

14 min listen

Has the statue of Churchill been improved by being enclosed in a protective casing? Was Colston’s toppling one of the greatest acts of performance art? Or is this all a sad indictment of the state of British politics? Fraser Nelson talks to The Spectator’s arts editor Igor Toronyi-Lalic and Coffee House contributor and writer Claire

Boxed-up Churchill is a real work of art

Central London is becoming a paradise for modernists like me. First there was the extraordinary encasement of Big Ben in sci-fi scaffolding, transforming this dinky clock tower into a NASA launchpad, a witchy Cape Canaveral. Then came the austere grey shell that sat over the main body of the Palace of Westminster for several years,

A triumph: ENO’s Mask of Orpheus reviewed

ENO’s Mask of Orpheus is a triumph. It’s also unintelligible. Even David Pountney, who produced the original ENO staging in 1986, admitted to me in the interval that he didn’t have a clue what Harrison Birtwistle’s opera was about. But who cares when, visually and musically, you’re being socked between the eyes? Mask makes sense