June 9, 2011


Schiller's Luise Miller

In Friedrich Schiller's play Intrigue and Love (Kabale und Liebe, 1784), which Verdi used as the basis for his 1849 opera Luisa Miller, Ferdinand von Walter - son of the most powerful statesman in the land - is willing to give up everything in order to marry the daughter of the local music teacher. Yet in a world dominated by deception and greed, the intrigue of courtiers and Ferdinand's ruthless father, their love is as doomed as Romeo and Juliet's. Although a powerful attack on absolutist government, which vividly dramatises the clash between honour and corruption, the play is rarely performed on the British stage. This new version by Mike Poulton continues at the Donmar Warehouse until 30 July.



This year's Meltdown festival at London's Southbank Centre is directed by Ray Davies of the Kinks, who will be performing with his own band on the opening night (10 June) and then closing proceedings eight days later with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus. Music will range in styles from boogie-woogie to garage and Jamaican ska. A concert on 16 June will feature works by two of Britain's boldest living composers: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King (1969), which requires the baritone soloist to swoop across five octaves, and Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Virelai (2008) and Secret Theatre (1984). Other events include a poetry reading by Roger McGough (10 June), a recreation of the 1960s television programme Ready Steady Go! (11 June), and a conversation between Terry Jones and Michael Palin (13 June).



The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World

One of the few major art movements based in London, although highly international in its outlook, Vorticism flared up brightly in the years before and during the First World War and then disappeared. Yet the artists' combination of machine-age forms and energetic imagery proved electrifying, a celebration of modernity that blasted away the staid legacy of the Edwardian era. This exhibition at Tate Britain (14 June to 4 September) draws extensively on the only two major shows ever mounted by this truly revolutionary group to present a dramatic reappraisal of their aesthetics, style and thought. More than 100 works on display include photographs and literary ephemera as well as seminal pieces by Wyndham Lewis, Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.


The Finishing Touch: Women's Accessories, 1830-1940

From the jewel-heeled shoes of the 1920s to a painted fan with mother of pearl sticks, dazzling accessories have long been used to add sparkle to fashionable outfits. This exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery (until 11 December) brings together 60 bags, hats, gloves, shoes and other accessories from the collection of National Museums Liverpool, many of them never before displayed. Bags range from tiny hand-embroidered examples, specially made to slip into a hidden skirt pocket, to much larger shop-made items in Art Deco style. Other exhibits include boots decorated in delicate pale blue silk or in far more military colours, and a huge horse-hair hat, designed to be pinned to some absurdly elaborate coiffure, swathed in satin and large swan's feathers.


Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts

Highlights of the 64th celebration of classical music and more on the Suffolk coast (10 to 26 June) include a performance of Messaien and Mahler by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, led by Sir Simon Rattle in his first festival appearance in two decades (10 June), and Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia (11 June) with a cast led by Ian Bostridge. In a festival first, a free open-air performance by an unannounced bill will be held in Aldeburgh near the 16th-century Moot Hall (12 June): "expect the unexpected", say organisers.


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