Music

Opera: Dialogues des Carmelites

By Stephen Pollard, June 6, 2014

No operatic ending is more devastating, gripping and shocking than the final scene of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites. Condemned to death for their faith by the French revolutionary court, the nuns walk to the guillotine singing the Salve Regina.

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Review: It’s Rextasy as compilation caters for Bolan completists

By Barry Toberman, April 28, 2014

Reissued to coincide with 20th Century Boy, the touring musical inspired by the life of Marc Bolan, these four albums chart the rise of the elfin frontman from underground darling to glamrock god.

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Kylie Minogue - Kiss Me Once (Parlophone)

By Paul Lester, April 7, 2014

When Madonna wore a Kylie Min-ogue T-shirt to the MTV European Music Awards in 2000, it was assumed she was being magnanimous and ironic. But the fact is that, in this country at least, Kylie is as big a deal these days.

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Opera review - Die Frau ohne Schatten (Royal Opera House): This Strauss in the House is as good as it gets

By Stephen Pollard, March 20, 2014

How’s this for a 20th-century plot? A supernatural Empress is married to a human Emperor who will be turned to stone if the Empress is not able to buy a shadow from a poor woman. And those are just the basic elements.
Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten is sometimes described as his response to The Magic Flute.

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Rothman reaps rewards for brushing up on his Grammar

By Paul Lester, February 20, 2014

London Grammar’s melancholy chill-out pop, with its blend of wan melody and gently pattering trip hop rhythms, has been one of the musical triumphs of the past year. The trio, who met at Nottingham University in 2009, saw their 2013 debut album If You Wait reach number two in the UK and go top 20 around the world.

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Don Giovanni Royal Opera House: A Don done with such impressive thought

By Stephen Pollard, February 7, 2014

Kasper Holten’s new production of Don Giovanni is unmissable. There’s not a scene that hasn’t been thoroughly thought through and not a character who hasn’t been dissected. That means a constantly rewarding intellectual challenge — such as the idea that, far from being helpless victims, Donna Anna and Zerlina are complicit in their dalliances with the Don.

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Barbara Streisand: Back To Brooklyn

By Paul Lester, January 17, 2014

Back To Brooklyn is a CD and DVD package recording Barbra Streisand's return to her roots - her concerts in October last year, which were her first in the neighbourhood where she was raised.

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No regrets as Ed plays it safe on his island

By Simon Round, November 28, 2013

I have an idea in my mind’s eye of what certain politicians might have been like as teenagers. In my imagination, Ed Miliband was a gawky youth in a green anorak who attended Labour Young Socialist meetings and didn’t have any girlfriends — or any other interests for that matter.

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The stars are out for Hawthorne

By Paul Lester, July 15, 2013

Mayer hawthorne
Where Does This Door Go? (Island)
Four stars

Youngblood hawke
Wake Up (Universal Republic)
Three stars

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Burt showing off his six-pack

By Paul Lester, June 13, 2013

There aren’t many composers, American or British, who could support a six-CD box set of their work, but Burt Bacharach — who has just turned 85 and is due to perform in Israel for the first time in July — is one such giant of post-war song. The last major collection of his music was The Look Of Love, a mere three-CD affair from 1998.

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