Like the roar of an older, bolder London, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s GREEK bounces snarling onto the Grimeborn stage, celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in the first ever revival of its world premiere production for Munich and ENO, directed both then and now by Jonathan Moore.
It shouldn’t have surprised me (as a local) that I had never heard the Norfolk folktale of John Chapman, the dreaming pedlar who found a fortune buried in his garden and used it generously to restore his beloved town of Swaffham.
The poems which inspired the mysterious song cycle Diary of One Who Disappeared first appeared anonymously published in a newspaper in May 1916. They immediately caught the eye of composer Leos Janáček, who completed this song cycle by 1920.
All the Angels is a fascinating, moving examination of the power of music to inspire, to challenge, and to regenerate souls, as well as an unnerving glance at the strange intimacy between composer and singer engendered by the rehearsal process.
Some people get terribly, passionately serious about Wagner. This shouldn’t be a problem: truly great music of all kinds tends to attract obsessive adulation, especially whenever the artist is a controversial, genre-breaking genius (cf. the recent press reaction to the death of David Bowie). But the sad fact is that too often, this fervent Wagner-worship only alienates everyone else, who are bored, horrified, or even put off, by all that ferocious fandom. Lynn Binstock is on a mission to change this: and her Rinse Cycle brings Wagner’s Ring to us in a completely new way.
Robert Icke’s new adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya is best summarised as an update – and an Anglicisation. Played in contemporary clothes, with sprinkled swearwords (so often touted as modern shorthand for “relevance”), Uncle Vanya is now ‘Uncle Johnny’, Professor Serebryakov is simply ‘Alexander’, Dr Astrov is ‘Michael’.
“I can unmake you the same way I made you. I write the story, remember?” Rachel Cusk’s brilliant vision of Euripides’ Medea for the Almeida transforms the barbarian witch into a modern-day writer: but, just as the ancient Medea’s spells had immortal force, so the new Medea’s power with words, particularly her fearless refusal to compromise on the truth, alienates and terrifies all those around her, and endows her with the ability to change her own destiny – at the terrible price of her sons’ lives.