Michael Morley

Over decades of productions in the Festival Theatre, I can recall a handful of experiences that resulted in immediate, unprompted, and collective standing ovations, beginning with the unforgettable journey that was Richard Wherrett's epic staging of Nicholas Nickleby (1983). Pina Bausch's ...

... (read more)

The two high-profile theatre productions featured at this year's Adelaide Festival – the National Theatre of Scotland's imaginative and engaging account of the life and times of the three King Jameses, The James Plays Trilogy, and Romeo Castellucci's mostly impenetrable take on ...

... (read more)

By now, it is more or less de rigueur to prefix comments on Benjamin Grosvenor's abilities at the keyboard by mentioning his age. Well, yes, it has to be said that, at twenty-three, there is more than a touch of the Wunderkind about what he does. But make no mistake: this is a serious, talented, imaginative, and committed musician who makes some of his more hyped co ...

Whereas library shelves tend to sag beneath the weight of volumes penned by, and intended for, theatre actors and directors, the number of comparable handbooks, instruction manuals, and studies pitched at their cinematic colleagues is rather thinner on the ground. To be sure, there are crucial works by David Mamet, Patrick Tucker, and Janet Sonnenberg, along with bo ...

Leading arts critics and professionals nominate some of their favourite performances for 2014.

... (read more)

The concert pianist Alfred Brendel is one of the leading twentieth-century interpreters of music, with a special interest in the German repertoire. When he retired in 2008 after six decades of performing, he did so not through loss of stamina, but because of crippling arthritis in his hands. Brendel continues, at eighty-three, to teach, lecture, and write. (His poetry collection, Playing the Human Game [2011] contains one of the most damning attacks on that well-known pest, the concert cougher.) A Pianist’s A–Z explores his personal relationship with the piano. It covers the classical repertoire, offering insights, asides, reflections, and the occasional and excruciatingly corny joke.

... (read more)

Forbidden Music by Michael Haas & Hollywood and Hitler by Thomas Doherty

by
August 2014, no. 363

For all their differences of subject matter and approach (not to mention style), both of these studies can be seen as belonging to the category of what might be termed archaeological history. That is, they are concerned with retrieving and bringing to the surface a gallery of characters and set of important stories and connections which have been either suppressed or ignored.

... (read more)

In one of the most penetrating essays in this wide-ranging collection, the pianist and scholar Charles Rosen, while addressing the topic of ‘La Fontaine: The Ethical Power of Style’, notes in an aside: ‘What is original in Montaigne is the strange path he takes to arrive at the idea.’ It is an observation that might be equally well applied to the author of the twenty-eight pieces in this volume, most of which originated as extended reviews for the New York Review of Books over the past two decades, apart from ‘Too Much Opera’, which dates from 1979 and, to put it politely, rather shows its age. On the other hand, the subsection entitled ‘Mostly Mozart’ includes, along with four previously published pieces, three new essays, which offer clear evidence of Rosen’s gifts as musical and cultural analyst. Covering topics as varied as dramatic and tonal logic in the operas, Mozart’s entry into the twentieth century, and Mozart and posterity, these hundred-plus pages provide a combination of sociology and musicology, history and aesthetics, performance analysis, and a grasp of the secondary literature that is characteristic of the Rosen who was both performer and critic. (He died in December 2012.)

... (read more)

In a 2009 interview linked to his production of Endgame in which he played Clov, the actor–director Simon McBurney observed that ‘nearly all theatre colleagues I meet have a Beckett story’. My own (second-hand) favourite Beckett story, told me by the Brecht scholar and former deputy editor of the Times Literary Supplement John Willett, might seem too drolly apposite to be true: but he assured me that it was.

... (read more)

With its opening montage of colliding images – a knife being drawn across a whetstone, television footage of massed crowds, milling soldiers in combat fatigues, politicians alighting from cars, with linking television intertitles and an underlying soundtrack of pulsating drums – Ralph Fiennes’s and John Logan’s take on Coriolanus immediately establishes its connections to contemporary events.

... (read more)
Page 2 of 3