A feast of Annas

A feast of Annas

I know I am coming late to this, but tonight I am off to the Clapham Picturehouse to see Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina with Keira Knightley (above). Despite the so-so reviews, I am intrigued to see how the film-set-in-a-theatre idea comes off. Tolstoy’s great novel is also probably the novel that would run Middlemarch the closest if I was allowed only a single book on a desert island (assuming I had a complete Shakespeare, of course). Which led me to muse on earlier screen manifestations of this tale of love, loss and redemption – and across the jump I have assembled seven YouTube clips of trailers and extracts, as well as the links that will take you to the two parts of a complete (legal) adaptation from Mosfilm with spectacular visuals made in the Soviet Union in 1967. For more about these and other adaptations, see this Wikipedia list. Enjoy.
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Better read

Better read

To Shakespeare’s Globe – or at least to the Sackler Studios just round the corner – for a wonderfully jolly staged reading on Sunday of Philip Massinger‘s comedy A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Probably written in 1625, this is one of the more popular dramas from the theatre just after Shakespeare’s death. Even so our theatre companies invariably seem to prefer yet another Romeo and Juliet to presenting this comedy – or indeed to exploring the contemporary repertory of nearly 500 surviving plays from the period 1576 to 1642 that are not by Shakespeare. Which is exactly why Globe Education’s excellent Sunday afternoon series called Read not Dead came into being seventeen years and two hundred performances ago.
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Songs for Sky

Songs for Sky

Today we film for Sky Arts the first of four (and, we hope, more) Rosenblatt Recitals from Wigmore Hall. The American bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee, accompanied by painist Iain Burnside, is giving a programme of songs by Verdi, Poulenc, the contemporary American composer Ben Moore, Rossini and Mozart – and we will be there with six cameras to translate it to the screen. The programme will be shown on Sky Arts next year. In the meantime, follow the links for more – and enjoy Lawrence Brownlee from an earlier Rosenblatt Recital singing ‘Ah, mes amis, quel jour de fete’ from Donizetti’s La fille du régiment.


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Links for the week [Updated]

Links for the week [Updated]

A time there was when I posted weekly a group of links to things that I recently read or watched online. Then I stopped for a while. And now – I think – I am going to start again. Maybe it’s just a sense of autumnal rain and the nights drawing in, but I also feel reconnected with the blog after some weeks away – in part because finally finally we have managed to get Google Analytics working (don’t ask) and everything here seems less imaginary and more, well, real. So let’s see how it goes. A first selection is across the jump –  - and since the weekend I have added additional links. But before that I might mention that on Tuesday evening there was a free screening of our RSC/BBC Julius Caesar film (above) at The British Museum. Despite it being outdoors, some three hundred turned up to watch, and many of them stayed to the end. The projection screen was several degrees too bright but it was definitely interesting to see the film in this way.
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Awaydays in Arles

Awaydays in Arles

I have to admit to squeezing in another late summer cultural mini-break (see here for my Shakespeare trip last month). Last week I was in the French town of Arles for a couple of nights, catching the end of Les Rencontres Arles Photographie (it closes 23 September). Les Rencontres is the famous festival of photography that has been held in Arles each summer since 1970, and I have long meant to go. The smart thing to do is to be there for the opening week, when along with the various parties and talks, there are photographic projections in the town’s classical ruins. But that’s for another time – this year, my friend Michael Jackson and I grabbed the chance for a trip to the south just before the autumn set in. (Incidentally, that’s Édouard Belin above, receiving a telephotograph in 1920 – the relevance of this will become clear below.)


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Whitstable times

Whitstable times

You will have noticed that I have not been blogging much over the past two months. I have been planning posts, writing parts of them in my head, even jotting down drafts. There is one that I want to offer (and may well still) about listening to the audiobook of Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth. I should also draw together my ideas about my visit to Les Rencontres d’Arles for photography exhibitions. Until an hour or so ago, however, I wasn’t going to mention the talk about filming Shakespeare that I contributed on Saturday to the Whitstable Biennale.  In large part, I thought that I had written here all that I spoke there. But then Alice Hattrick’s blog about the event appears and she says much of the presentation was ‘a bit boring’. Which brought me straight back here – not (I hope) prompted by defensiveness, but because she makes some interesting points that I want to work through.


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