May 19, 2011


Aeneas in Hell

An opera devised by British librettist and music critic Paul Griffiths will receive its world stage premiere at Anglia Ruskin University on 24 May and will run until 28 May (except the 26th). Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, first performed in around 1688, is one of the earliest and greatest of English operas. But since it lasts only an hour, it always needs a companion piece to make up a full evening's entertainment. It was this that led Paul Jackson, head of music and performing arts at Anglia Ruskin, to wonder if anyone had ever written a sequel, drawing on the events in Virgil's Aeneid after Dido's abandonment and suicide. Aeneas in Hell, created by Griffiths solely from music Purcell wrote for the stage but which is never now performed, provides exactly that.


Lord of the Flies

When a group of schoolboys survive a plane crash, they embark on what seems like a classic desert island adventure, yet it soon turns into a desperate struggle for survival as superstition and savagery begin to undermine the community the boys have created. A bold new staging of William Golding's terrifying novel Lord of the Flies (1954), directed by Timothy Sheader, will open this year's summer season of plays at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, with the production running from 19 May until 18 June. It will be followed by John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (23 June-23 July), a version of William Shakespeare's Pericles "reimagined" for children as well as adults (2-23 July) and musical comedy Crazy for You, an adaptation of George and Ira Gershwin's 1930 hit Girl Crazy (28 July-10 September).


The Hepworth Wakefield

Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) was one of the greatest British sculptors of the 20th century and her work has long been on display at Tate St Ives' Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. But on 21 May, a new museum dedicated to her work will open in her native Wakefield. The Hepworth Wakefield was designed by David Chipperfield Architects. Standing on the headland of the River Calder at the southern gateway to the city, the museum consists of a cluster of trapezoidal blocks. It will bring together more than 40 working models in plaster and aluminium, donated by the Hepworth Estate, with the major existing collection at Wakefield Art Gallery. Another exhibition, Barbara Hepworth and Landscape, continues at the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 22 July.


Pirates: The Captain Kidd Story

The pirates familiar from stage and screen fly the Jolly Roger, walk the plank and speak with the highly distinctive accent first used by Robert Newton as Long John Silver in the 1950 film of Treasure Island. But what was the reality behind these stereotypes? This ambitious exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands (20 May-30 October) uses original artefacts and archaeological finds to reveal London's links with piracy dating back to the 17th century. Maps, letters and illustrations reconstruct the true story of the infamous Captain Kidd (c. 1645-1701), who met his end upstream of the museum at Wapping's riverside Execution Dock. An audiovisual display examines cinematic pirates from Errol Flynn in Captain Blood (1935) to Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, not to mention the long-neglected history of women pirates.


Egon Schiele: Women

Although he was only 28 when he died, Egon Schiele (1890-1918) produced more than 4,000 works, including the many savagely erotic images that led to his arrest in 1912 and remain highly unsettling even today. For such a major figure, Schiele has been neglected in the UK, with only a single museum exhibition, held at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1989, dedicated to his work. But was the artist once dismissed as a pornographer a sensationalist, a misogynist or someone who explored the darker aspects of sexuality with uncanny honesty? The 45 works on display until 30 June at the new Richard Nagy Gallery, all previously unseen in this country, offer UK visitors a rare opportunity to judge for themselves.

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