Memoir Dorothy Watson founder of The Bridge Pottery 1921-1961

Starting up a business has never been easy and historically much harder if you are a woman. Doubly tough if you were a single woman in the 1920s like potter, Dorothy Watson, who, having lost her fiancé, Arthur Prichard at Vimy Ridge during WW1, found herself single and in great need of work. An inheritance of…

In Opera Holland Park’s Amico Fritz, the love duets rule

In an age where maximum noise and drama seems to be a prerequisite to an opera’s success, Amico Fritz might be regarded as the cuckoo in the nest. Its pastoral, gentle story-line is likely to pass most opera goers by. Opera Holland Park on the other hand is championing Mascagni’s work in a new production – presenting…

Alpha tale: Pete Paphides, ‘Broken Greek’

I am extremely late to this party, as ‘Broken Greek’ has now been in paperback for a couple of months. Back in 2020, its initial appearance was greeted by a chorus of rave reviews and widespread, well-deserved appreciation. It not only won the Royal Society of Literature’s 2021 Christopher Bland Prize, it was also my…

Heart songs: Elizabeth Llewellyn & Simon Lepper; Isata Kanneh-Mason

As soon as I read about ‘Heart and Hereafter’, Elizabeth Llewellyn’s debut recital album on Orchid Classics, I was excited and intrigued to hear it – for three main reasons. First, I had seen and heard her give a magnificent performance in the title role of Verdi’s ‘Luisa Miller’ for English National Opera back in…

Vixen in the Park

Leoš Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen is a popular work on the opera circuit. Man’s uneasy alliance with the natural world is a theme which chimes particularly well with our times. Janácek wrote it way back in 1921 however, and he spent many an hour studying forest animals (as did many other composers worth their salt before him). …

Paula Rego at Tate Britain

Anglo-Portuguese artist Paula Rego (born 1935), Dame of the British Empire, Royal Academician, holder of six honorary degrees, with a museum devoted to her work in her native country, is one of today’s most important figurative artists. Not bad for someone who arrived in Britain as a refugee at 16, packed off by her liberal…

Michael Armitage at the Royal Academy

The artist Michael Armitage presents his views on Kenyan politics and society, and the legacy of colonialism in phantasmagoric paintings that delight and unnerve. Guest review by Sarah Mulvey Featured: Detail from Pathos and the Twilight of the Idle, 2019 Michael Armitage is an artist of mixed heritage; he was born in Nairobi to a…

Despax plays his dream concerto

Brahms always preferred to let his music do the talking rather than explain the origins of his work.  That said, it is certainly interesting to look at what was happening in Brahms’s life when he started to write his first large scale composition – his Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor.   By then he had…