As far as 1960s audiences were concerned, Lionel Bart – famed for the musical Oliver – had lost his “twang” when he came up with the box office flop “Twang!!”, with two exclamation marks. But if the audiences of the swinging sixties weren’t ready, the 21st century theatre-goers of London’s Union Theatre – renowned for alternative, low-budget, high-entertainment musicals – are.
La Forza del Destino was first performed in 1862. Not satisfied, Verdi carried on revising it for years, adding in 1869 the famous sinfonia overture that announces so many of the work’s overwhelming musical themes.
Tchaikovsky said his aim in creating an opera from Pushkin’s supremely Russian yet universal drama of ill-fated love was to relay “ordinary, simple human feelings” as opposed to lavishly theatrical action.
To most Britons, P.G. Wodehouse is known as the creator of quaint, comic novels starring the blundering upper class twit Bertie Wooster and his astute valet Jeeves. He also contributed lyrics and stories to a wealth of musicals and his step great grandson, the opera singer Hal Cazalet, who as a child slept in a room beneath the Wodehouse archive, tells us he only got to know P.G. Wodehouse’s prose through the song lyrics.
Four women and five men from Aberdeen University’s A Cappella Society Aberpella tell us they thought they were being terribly witty in choosing the title “50 Tones of Grey” as a reference to the shades of the sky and stone of their university city.
After studying literature and painting, Robert B. Sherman, the elder half of one of the world’s most prolific song-writing duos, set about writing the great American novel, while his younger brother Richard, who had studied music, was working on the great American symphony.
John Lucas finds multiple reasons to recommend this memoir by Gail Holst-Warhaft which is studded through with her own accomplished poetry and also gives a shrewdly observant account of post-war Greek history
Northern Ireland’s permanent representation in Brussels periodically brings to the capital of Europe a sample of Northern Irish culture in a spirit of cross-cultural exchange that risks being disrupted in the event of a Brexit.