Maazel: Mahler Cycle 2011
Whether inspired by nature, poetry or his own spiritual journeys, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) famously wanted each of his symphonies to conjure up a whole world. Over the next six months at the Royal Festival Hall, the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Lorin Maazel will offer interpretations of virtually all the surviving original music Mahler composed: the nine completed symphonies, the adagio from the uncompleted Symphony No. 10, the symphonic song cycle Das Lied von der Erde and several of his other song cycles. It begins on 12 April with a performance of Symphony No. 1 and Songs of a Wayfarer, and concludes with the epic Symphony No. 8 (or Symphony of a Thousand) on 9 October, with the Philharmonia Voices, the BBC Symphony Chorus and the Chapel Choirs of Eton College all providing vocal support.
Heracles to Alexander the Great: Treasures from the Royal Capital of Macedon
The royal city of Aegae - modern-day Vergina - was the first capital of Macedon and the seat of power of the Temenid kings, named after Temenus, a descendant of Heracles. The Temenids ruled from the mid-7th to the 4th century BC and gave Greece two of its most famous leaders, King Philip II (382-336BC) and his son Alexander the Great (356-323BC). Yet Aegae remained largely unknown until 30 years ago, when excavations uncovered the unlooted tombs of Philip II and his grandson Alexander IV. Now, for the first time outside Greece, more than 500 of its treasures are on display at the Ashmolean Museum (until 29 August). Illustrating the themes of kingship, royal women and palace life, the exhibition includes jewellery, silverware, gold wreaths, life-sized marble statues, painted battle scenes, ceramics and clay heads.
The 14th British Silent Film Festival
Directed by Laraine Porter, senior lecturer in film studies at De Montfort University, this four-day festival (7-10 April at the Barbican and elsewhere) has trawled the archives to uncover hidden gems and present them with musical accompaniment designed to recreate the experience of film-going from the First World War until the closing phase of the silent era. Highlights include Beggars of Life, a tale of Depression-era hoboes riding the rails, and What Next?, a British comedy about a bric-a-brac salesman who accidentally buys an antique candlestick being sought by a deranged archaeologist. Other events will explore the relationship between radio and silent film, the development of the British newsreel, and why stock musical devices such as high quivery violins produce such a powerfully dramatic and emotional effect.
Manet, the Man who Invented Modern Art
Edouard Manet (1832-83) was a defiantly modern painter who consciously challenged the work of the Old Masters from Fra Angelico to Velazquez. This major exhibition, which continues at the Musee d'Orsay until 3 July, is centrally concerned to locate him within the context of his times. It explores the changing nature of the contemporary media, the support he received from the poet Charles Baudelaire, the temptations of high society, his reworking of religious art, his use of erotic imagery and relationship with women painters, and his decision to remain outside the main current of the Impressionist movement. It will also recreate the March 1880 exhibition he organised at the gallery La Vie Moderne.
The Women's Library is located in an area of East London not far from the streets where, in 1888, Jack the Ripper carried out at least five horrific murders whose locations still generate substantial tourist activity. This new foyer display, presented by the Ignite Art Collective, consists of a set of multimedia installations that use these events as a focus to explore the historical and contemporary impact of violence against women. (In) Memoriam continues until 28 May; an alternative Jack the Ripper walk will take place on 5 May to put commemorative plaques on the murder sites.