Stephen Pollard

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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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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Return of the Jewish native

By Stephen Pollard, December 24, 2013

They’re back.

One of the many privileges of editing the JC is that my postbag helps me to sniff out the various “on trend” and “so last season” themes doing the rounds.

For a while it seemed as if there was one group that had almost disappeared from view. But I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that they’re back.

The AsAJew has returned.

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History through the wine glass

By Stephen Pollard, November 7, 2013

Château Chalon might be one of the most famous Jura wines but they are extremely difficult to get hold of. Thanks, however, to the Oracle Paradis Wine Fund’s tasting, organised to celebrate its purchase of a bottle of the 1781, I’ve now tasted five different vintages.

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David Cameron: Yid is not hate speech when it’s Spurs

By Stephen Pollard, September 18, 2013

Spurs fans who use the word “Yid” in terrace chants should not be prosecuted — as long as they are not motivated by hate, according to David Cameron.

The Prime Minister reignited the row over the use of the word when he made clear his view, which contradicts the Football Association and Jewish groups who have been insisting it is always offensive.

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Chronicler: Jump off this idiotic bandwagon

By Stephen Pollard, September 12, 2013

As of now, I’m not one of the 30 per cent of British men with a criminal record.

I say “as of now” because this may be about to change.

On Tuesday, the Football Association revived that perennial, the Y-word on the terraces.

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A politically sophisticated community? Come off it

By Stephen Pollard, August 22, 2013

When you’re editing a newspaper, one of the most frequent questions you ask is: what’s the peg?
I play a little game with myself, constructing tenuous pegs for stories with no apparent link to the JC, just to see if I can find a way, in theory, of getting them in to the paper.

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IDF fears jihadists may ‘sweep the region’

By Stephen Pollard, July 4, 2013

The Syrian civil war could spill over far beyond its borders according to senior Israeli military sources, leading to fears that jihadis could “sweep through the region”.

Military analysts also believe that no end is remotely in sight to the conflict and that it could last for 15 years.

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Talking to Strangers

By Stephen Pollard, May 24, 2013

If you're a regular JC reader, you'll have seen - and, I hope, laughed at - the columns of Peter Rosengard.

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Jordan and Israel 'as one' over Syria and Iran attack

By Stephen Pollard, May 23, 2013

A senior Jordanian official has confirmed that the Hashemite Kingdom is allowing the Israelis to fly unmanned drones over its air space as part of the Israeli monitoring of the situation in Syria.

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Opera: Written on Skin

By Stephen Pollard, March 14, 2013

After seeing Written on Skin, I have some idea what it must have been like to have been at the premiere of Peter Grimes. Just as Britten’s opera was immediately obvious as a masterpiece — and not just of British opera —so, too, George Benjamin’s work is a league above any other new opera I have seen.

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Calcot Manor, Gloucestershire

By Stephen Pollard, March 8, 2013

It’s always fascinated me how one’s horizon’s change when you have kids.

Ask me four years ago to define paradise and I would not have come up with the idea of a hotel in the Cotswolds, let alone one that caters primarily for families. Ask me now, and I’ll give you two words: Calcot Manor.

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Instructive antisemitic comparison

By Stephen Pollard, January 29, 2013

Oh dear. I really didn't want to have to write about antisemitism again. Believe me it's not something I ever want to have to discuss. But this past week there have been two instructive episodes.

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Israel-diaspora ties get boost in UK conference

By Stephen Pollard, December 20, 2012

Some ideas are so obvious you wonder why no one thought of them before. The annual Australia Israel UK Leadership Dialogue is one of them.

Originally a meeting of Australian and Israeli leaders — defined as politicians, thinkers and journalists — the addition of UK delegates has lifted the two-day forum into a sort of Israeli Königswinter Conference.

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Settlements - the view from Jerusalem

By Stephen Pollard, December 3, 2012

I’ve been trying to find out the thinking behind the Israeli government’s announcement that it intends to build a settlement of 3000 units in E1.Speaking to various Israeli government sources, here’s my take.

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Opera: Verdi's Otello

By Stephen Pollard, July 20, 2012

I have been spoilt by Carlos Kleiber. Nearly two decades ago, I heard him conduct Verdi’s Otello at the Royal Opera House and I know that, as long as I live, I will never hear anything that compares. The opening storm he conjured up (and yes, it was magic), when he made the orchestra sound as if the earth was opening up, was something beyond music.

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Muslim Brotherhood's win in Egypt fits Islamist plans

By Stephen Pollard, July 5, 2012

The victory of Mohamed Morsi as the new president of Egypt has not merely been greeted with equanimity in the West. It has been welcomed.

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Rooney, Hart, Walcott and the England Euro 2012 players who will never forget the Holocaust

By Stephen Pollard, June 14, 2012

It would be difficult to think of a more inappropriate venue for a PR stunt than Auschwitz. So when it was announced that the England football team, staying in Krakow for the European Championships, was to visit the death camp, there were some howls of protest.

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Opera: Falstaff is a Royal Opera House must-see

By Stephen Pollard, May 18, 2012

If I could give this new production of Falstaff 50 stars, I would. Verdi’s last opera is as close to perfection as music gets, and Robert Carsen’s 1950s update does it justice. Carsen clearly loves Falstaff and wants only to share that love with the audience.

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