Interview with artist France Mitrofanoff

  Having commenced her career in the 1970s, French artist, France Mitrofanoff, has a vast body of work behind her. Over the years she has tackled many themes: the monster, urban living, alienation and reconstruction. In the past decade she has turned away from the city and has focussed on the cosmos and nature. Her star-studded…

My Favourite Things : Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’

Battle of Moscow (Borodino) 7th Sept 1812 by Louis-François Lejeune   Christmas is nearing and every year I find myself irritable and exhausted and walking over to my bookshelves for literary solace. Dancing over rows of black paperwork classics, my fingers slow over my favoured volumes, all epics. Worlds of past existence inhabit my weighty…

Interview with Dancer, Dickson Mbi

On 25th January, Pop City UK, will host the street dance event of the year in our capital. Four hundred and fifty Hip Hop and Popping artists will compete in a day-long international dance competition which will be live-streamed using Instagram Live. As well as attracting the finest dance artists in the business, the event aims to…

Wagner Singing Competition at the Wigmore

Climatic scene from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde 1910 Rogelio de Egusquiz   1979 was my A-level year. Also the year I discovered Richard Wagner. We had one good stereo system in our sitting room which pumped out rock, pop, jazz and classical at all hours, to all corners of our Victorian house in Barnes. One Sunday afternoon,…

In Search of Dora Maar

Model, Assia Granatouroff photographed by Dora Maar   Walking into the Tate Modern show on Dora Maar, a question wouldn’t go away. Would Maar’s best work turn out to be what she produced during her years with Picasso? The Barbican show I had attended on artistic couples, in January of this year, was still fresh…

Baroque in our time

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-36) Christmas is nearly upon us and time for the Requiems, the Stabat Maters, to be performed in concert halls and churches up and down the country. Now, more so than ever, audiences, can’t seem to be able to get enough of these religious works. Their familiar musical settings are popular for…

Monumental Messiaen: Steven Osborne at Queen Elizabeth Hall

Olivier Messiaen’s monumental and profound work Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jésus (Twenty Gazes on the Infant Jesus) is one of the greatest works in the pianist’s repertoire, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with such titans as Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas in terms of its scale. It is one of the most extraordinary and ground-breaking works in…

Umpteenth revival of Jonathan Miller’s Mikado at ENO

  1986 wasn’t a particularly memorable year in the grand scheme of things. Spain and Portugal joined the European Community (as it then was), Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher officially opened the M25 motorway. I seem to remember spending most of it looking for a job. Nor…

An Electrifying ‘Mask of Orpheus’ at ENO

  Aerialists, Matthew Smith (Orpheus Hero) and Alfa Marks (Eurydice Hero)   Commissioned by ENO, The Mask of Orpheus, caused quite a stir, when it premiered at the Coliseum in 1986. Some heralded it as a genius work. Others found it difficult, which probably explains why it has not been fully staged again until now….