Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Old Opera, Frankfurt

While Ms B was visiting Mr B from London in Frankfurt recently, we decided to buy surprisingly good value tickets (at €50 each, for stalls seats in the centre 20 metres away from the stage) to see the world’s best symphony orchestra, Amsterdam’s Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, perform pieces of Haydn and Mahler at Alte Oper in Frankfurt. Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 was, as it happens, conducted by the composer himself at the 1904 Dutch premiere of his work. This time around, it was directed by the amazing Daniele Gatti, who took over the reins at RCO at the beginning of the last season. Alte Oper, who have a long-standing cooperation arrangement with this orchestra, were welcoming Mr Gatti for the first time since he joined them. (c) The Arts Desk (Featured image is by BerkeleySqB). Some in the audience (not us) were initially rather disappointed when it was announced at […]

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Selfie to Self-Expression – Saatchi Gallery – our Review

We’ve just returned from a visit to this fabulous exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. According to its brochure, “From Selfie to Self-Expression” is “the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie from the old masters to the present day, and celebrates the creative potential of a form of expression often derided for its inanity”. The first room shows self-portraits of Rembrandt, Edvard Munch, Picasso, Matisse and many of the other greats on i-Phone shaped large electronic displays with actual i-Phones to their bottom right-hand side, showing the Greats’ made-up Instagram profiles with 34,146 likes on the Picasso selfie, and so on. Hilarious. The whole things spreads over three floors, and it gets even better, the further you progress through the many rooms filled with exhibits.                                  We were particularly fond of the exhibit in Gallery 3: “Hello World! […]

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England’s Medieval Festival in 2017

How better to spend a glorious summer day than travelling back to the medieval times to the beautiful grounds of Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex? We’d been to a couple of medieval festivals in Germany (see our post on the The Landshut Wedding) and wanted to discover England’s Medieval Festival this year over the August bank holiday weekend. This year is the 25th year the Festival has been running, and so when we were invited to visit for the Sunday, we were excited to do so.     Getting there from central London We travelled by train for about 1 hour and 20 minutes from London Victoria to Polegate in East Sussex.  From Polegate we took the dedicated shuttle bus to the Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle. The shuttle bus ran every 30 minutes on Sunday and was £7.00 for an adult return ticket. This was by far the fastest […]

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Haydn, an Imaginary Orchestral Journey with Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO

This photo is (c) Evening Standard

We are just back from our evening at the Barbican, where Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra performed pieces of Wagner, Bartok, and Haydn under the headline of “Haydn, an Imaginary Orchestral Journey”. Sir Simon Rattle is currently finishing his tenure at the world’s 2nd best symphonic orchestra in Berlin (where his tenure ends in 2018) and will already take over the reins at the LSO, usually ranking #5 worldwide (#1 being Amsterdam, #3 Vienna, and #4 Chicago) in September this year. So this evening is a nice way of saying hello to his new home. He seems to be taking Brexit with good humour, but some say he would have made a different decision had he known about it. As expected, the evening was a brilliant experience. I normally dislike Wagner’s music, because in my mind it’s got the (unjustified, of course, I admit that!) feel of […]

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Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, New Retrospective, V&A

Last weekend, MrB and I went to the exhibition Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, New Retrospective, V&A (27 May 2017-18 February 2018).  I’m not a fashionista, and only knew Balenciaga from his namesake designer handbags.  I left the exhibition in awe of his skill and creativity, and grateful that he brought us designs that I can easily see myself wearing today: the baby-doll dress, the shift dress, the raglan sleeve, tunic and cocoon coat.       Cristobel Balenciaga (1895-1972) is widely acknowledged as “the designer’s designer”, and although he is not as recognisable a name as Coco Chanel or Christian Dior, there is no doubt as to his legacy and innovation.    Lovingly curated, the V&A draws on its existing collection of his pieces, the largest collection in the UK, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Spanish master’s first fashion salon in Sans Sebastian and the 80th anniversary of the opening […]

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