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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Exhibition – Sixties Photographs at Tower Bridge

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The Sixties 28 March – 31 December

Location – Tower Bridge Exhibition, Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP

Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge in the world, presents ‘The Sixties’ – a stylish new photographic exhibition focusing on the people, places, events and designs that epitomise this revolutionary decade. On display in Tower Bridge’s impressive West Walkway, 42m above the Thames and with stunning views across London, the exhibition features over 60 iconic images, from pop stars to Prime Ministers, fashion designers to Formula One racing drivers and cutting edge architecture to political activists.

Tickets included in admission prices to Tower Bridge: £8 adults, £3.40 children 5-15, under 5s free.

 Click here for more information www.towerbridge.org

English National Ballet – Lest We Forget at the Barbican, 2 Apr 2014 – 12 Apr 2014

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Russell Maliphant’s Second Breath. © Dana Fouras

Location – Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

English National Ballet’s first ever season at the Barbican Theatre, opens on Wednesday 2 April with Lest We Forget, a new programme of works marking the centenary of the First World War .

Choreographers Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant are both collaborating with a classical ballet company for the first time – and it has been announced that Artistic Director Tamara Rojo will be performing with Akram Khan on the opening night, as well as the matinee and evening shows on 3 April and the final show on 12 April.

Each piece of work will present different aspects of the conflict, highlighting  the complex relationships of men and women thrust into new roles in society.

Khan’s work Dust is about the empowerment of women in the war, especially as they became the main workforce in the country.

Maliphant’s Second Breath is about the men and the sacrifice of the men. Principal couples include Alina Cojocaru with Junor Souza (2, 3 (eve) & 5 April) and Tamarin Stott with Nathan Young.

Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett’s No Man’s Land is about the relationship between men and the women they leave behind, the loss and longing. Casting includes Tamara Rojo and Esteban Berlanga; Alina Cojocaru and Zdenek Konvalina, Ksenia Ovsyanick and Laurent Liotardo, Angela Wood and Fabian Reimair. Erina Takahashi and James Forbat, Fernanda Oliveira and Max Westwell will perform on 2, 3 (eve) & 5 (eve) April.

English National Ballet Associate Artist George Williamson’s Firebird completes the programme, which looks set to appeal to ballet and contemporary dance audiences alike

Tickets will be £10-50 and can be bought here

THE ROYAL OPERA : LA TRAVIATA Giuseppe Verdi 19, 21, 24, 26, April and 3, 6, 9, 12, 17, 20,30 May

La Traviata

AILYN PÉREZ AS VIOLETTA © ROH/ CATHERINE ASHMORE

THE ROYAL OPERA PRESENTS  LA TRAVIATA Giuseppe Verdi

19, 21, 24, 26, April and 3, 6, 9, 12, 17, 20 May at 7pm; 30 April at 1pm

One of the most popular operas,  La traviata  is one of the highlights at The Royal Opera this spring.  The  opera is considered one of  Giuseppe Verdi’s  masterpieces,  and  Richard Eyre ’s acclaimed production (20 years old this year), with Bob Crowley’s  opulent set designs and beautiful costumes offer a not to be missed occasion.

Lighting design is by Jean Kalman , and the Director of movement is Jane Gibson.

Verdi composed La traviata in the early 1850s, and the opera had its premiere at La Fenice, Venice, in March 1853. The opera contains some of Verdi’s most atmospheric music, and tuneful melodies. Musical highlights include the Brindisi in Act I, Violetta’s Act I aria ‘Sempre libera’, the duet between Violetta and Alfredo’s sceptical father Giorgio Germont in Act II scene 1, and the unforgettable reunion of the lovers in Act III.

Royal Opera

AILYN PÉREZ AS VIOLETTA, SIMON KEENLYSIDE AS GIORGIO GERMONT © ROH/ CATHERINE ASHMORE

Sharing the role of Violetta are German soprano Diana Damrau and American soprano Ailyn Pérez, who sing opposite Sardinian tenor Francesco Demuro and American tenor Stephen Costello as Alfredo.

Two world renown baritones will sing the role of Giorgio Germont: Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and British baritone Simon Keenlyside.

Israeli conductor Dan Ettinger conducts all performances.

La traviata will be relayed live on BP Big Screens on Tuesday 20 May. A list of venues will be available here

Tickets (£9 -£195 ) will be in high demand and can bought here

Book Review – Bryant and May and The Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler

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Londoner Christopher Fowler has built up a wide readership for his endearing creations, detectives Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

He has just published his eleventh book in the series, Bryant & May and The Bleeding Heart which finds our elderly detectives finding their unit being transferred into the City of London and under threat from Public Liaison Officer Orion Banks who considers the detectives as more Thompson Twins rather than Holmes and Watson.

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St George’s Gardens

However strange events at St George’s Gardens in Bloomsbury set off a trail of events that lead Bryant and May plus colleagues to the Tower of London, The Museum of London and the Bleeding Heart Tavern near Hatton Gardens.

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Bleeding Heart Tavern

With nothing quite as it seems, the Peculiar Crimes Unit resources are stretched to cope with the many strands of the complex investigation. Even Bryant and May began to suspect they are being manipulated by the sinister Mr Merry.

Award winning Fowler’s real talent is to intertwine London past and present with a series of often offbeat and colourful characters.

His knowledge of this part of London allows some of its macabre past to be resurrected to keep the plot both strangely surreal yet rooted in the harsh reality of modern London.

This considerable balancing act and the ability to provide believable and sympathetic characters show a writer at the top of his game.

In the preface to this book, Fowler states that one of the secrets of the longevity of a detective series is that you must find the balance between familiarity and freshness. The Bleeding Heart succeeds on both counts and offers the regular and the new reader plenty to enjoy.

If you are interested in stories based on the London’s often gruesome and bizarre past but would also like some insight into modern London life this is a book for you.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to buy this book visit the Visiting London Guide Bookshop

Kate Bush adds new dates to her London Shows

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Kate Bush

Enigmatic singer Kate Bush has announced she is to play a further seven dates in London this year, in addition to the 15 shows that were announced last week.

The extra dates have been added due to the huge demand for tickets for the concerts.

The 22-night run of shows begins at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on 26 August and runs until 1 October.

The announcements of the shows suprised many due to the fact that Kate Bush last toured in 1979 when she was at the height of her fame based on her hits Wuthering Heights,Hounds of Love, Running Up That Hill and Babooshka.

The new show will be titled Before The Dawn and the location of the Hammersmith Apollo is significant due to being the place where her previous tour in 1979 ended.

She has won a number of awards and received a CBE for services to music in 2013.

Tickets for all 22 shows officially go on sale at 09:30 GMT on 28 March

British Museum – Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300–1100, opens 27 March 2014

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Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300–1100

The Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery – Opens 27 March 2014 – Admission free

A new display of the British Museum’s early medieval collections which include the famous Sutton Hoo treasure is scheduled to open  on 27 March 2014.  The gallery’s centrepiece will be the remarkable finds from the Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk. The excavation in 1939, revealed a grave inside a 27m-long ship which many believe  commemorated an Anglo-Saxon king who died in the early AD 600s.. Many of the treasures from the site, like the helmet, gold buckle and whetstone have become icons  of the British Museum.

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The Gallery  tells the story of a formative period in Europe’s history. This time of great change witnessed the end of the Western Roman Empire, the evolution of the Byzantine Empire, migrations of people across the Continent and the emergence of Christianity and Islam as major religions.

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In a period often referred to as the Dark Ages, finds of the quality of the Sutton Hoo  are incredibly rare, and the  refurbished gallery gives an overview of the whole period, ranging across Europe and beyond

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Outstanding treasures on display include the Lycurgus Cup, the Projecta Casket, the Kells Crozier, Domagnano Treasure, Cuerdale Hoard and Fuller Brooch to name but a few. The design, object selection and interpretation will be completely refreshed with the aim of developing a more coherent narrative for the collections, and to display star objects more effectively than ever before. The material includes stunning and extraordinary objects from a period that was anything but the Dark Ages.

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The new display will also feature material never before shown. These include Late Roman mosaics, a huge copper alloy necklace from the Baltic Sea region, and a gilded mount discovered by X-ray in a lump of organic material from a Viking woman’s grave, over a century after it was acquired.

Visiting London Guide Review

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It is one of the problems of the top museums that some of  its  exhibits can  get overlooked in the dazzling array of riches on display.

To overcome this problem you sometimes need to build a collection around your star exhibits, the British Museum with its new Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300 -1100 gallery has followed this path with stunning effect.

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In recent years the idea that this period was a kind of “Dark Ages” has widely been challenged and walking around this gallery you can see why. The incredible craftsmanship  of many items dispel many of the myths that these people were barbarians and not interested in the finer things of life.

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If the finds from Sutton Hoo take centre stage, the other items are no less interesting and gives some insight into Europe at this period.

If you are visiting the British Museum and are interested in this period, this is a collection not to miss.

Admission free.

Opening hours 10.00–17.30 Saturday to Thursday and 10.00–20.30 Fridays.

 

The project coincides with the BP exhibition: Vikings: life and legend in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch to play Hamlet at the Barbican

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Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock
It was confirmed today that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch  will be playing the title role of Hamlet at the Barbican in London next year.
The production will run August – October 2015 and be directed by Lyndsey Turner  known for  her work in Posh and Chimerca and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions.
The production of Hamlet will be part of the Celebrating Shakespeare season at the Barbican which will feature many of the Bard’s best known works.
Producer Sonia Friedman said: “I’m thrilled to be producing Hamlet with Lyndsey and Benedict and we are all delighted that the magnificent Barbican has agreed to present the show. Having recently produced Lyndsey’s extraordinary production of Chimerica in the West End, I am delighted to be working with her again and it is so great to be working with one of the most gifted and exciting actors of his generation, Benedict Cumberbatch, in the title role.” 
Although there will be considerable demand for tickets,  they are not on sale yet.
Further information and booking details will be announced in May 2014 via barbican.org.uk.