CategorySport

La Forza del Destino review – guilt and obsession with opera’s biggest stars

Royal Opera House, LondonChristof Loy cannot quite bring Verdi’s ungainly drama together but Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko and Antonio Pappano force their operatic flair to the fore Directed by Christof Loy, the Royal Opera’s new production of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino is an import from Amsterdam, where it was first seen in September 2017. Theatrically, it is an uneven affair, compounded of grandeur and longueurs, which you could argue reflects the unwieldy nature of the work itself, with its unstable mix of fatalistic tragedy and bitter comedy. Musically, it is at times tremendous. There are cast changes as the run progresses, but the lineup on opening night, with Anna Netrebko as Leonora, Jonas Kaufmann as Alvaro and Ludovic Tézier as Carlo, was starry in the extreme – and unquestionably exciting. Netrebko’s ability to combine vocal weight with delicacy allows her both to power her way magnificently through the climaxes of Madre, Pietosa Vergine and float the long lines of La Vergine Degli Angeli with exquisite ease. At Royal Opera House, London, until 22 April. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

My estranged mother is punishing me by thwarting my chance for Irish citizenship

She was violent and abusive when I was a child so I’ve cut ties. But now that I need a copy of her passport, she refuses to help I want to register as an Irish citizen. My grandmother was Irish and I have most of the documents I need for the application, but my mother, from whom I am estranged, won’t let me have a copy of her passport. She was violent and abusive when I was a child, and her abusive attitude continued into adulthood. I cut ties because it is damaging to my mental health to be around her. When I got in touch and politely asked if I could have a notarised copy, which I would pay for, she refused. She gets satisfaction in “punishing” me and I know she will draw this out as long as she can. I don’t know what to do. I want to have as little contact with her as possible. • When leaving a message on this page, please be sensitive to the fact that you are responding to a real person in the grip of a real-life dilemma, who wrote to Private Lives asking for help, and may well view your comments here. Please consider especially how your words or the tone of your message could be perceived by someone in this situation, and be aware that comments that appear to be disruptive or disrespectful to the individual concerned will be removed. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Five Feet Apart review – sickly teen romance dies a slow death

A pair of lovestruck hospital patients trade love letters and latex gloves in cinema’s latest exercise in morbid mawkishness It’s been nearly 50 years since Love Story showed that people will pay good money to watch pretty youngsters dying slowly, and five since The Fault in Our Stars revived this morbid subgenre with notable commercial success. Justin Baldoni’s middling derivative courts viewer sympathies with a somewhat novel conceit, taking place almost exclusively within the hospital where perky vlogger and cystic fibrosis patient Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) has been confined as part of a drug trial. Dragging her oxygen line around intensive care, she crosses paths with a fellow trialist, floppy-haired hunk Will (Cole Sprouse), and a wicked new twist is added to an old meet-cute: they can’t get too close, lest they exchange potentially lethal lungfuls of bacteria. Here are two kids who could kill with a kiss. Related: Dying of the light: why Hollywood needs to get over its obsession with terminally ill teens Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Five Feet Apart review – sickly teen romance mopes to morbid conclusion

A pair of lovestruck hospital patients trade love letters and latex gloves in cinema’s latest exercise in mawkishness It’s been nearly 50 years since Love Story showed that people will pay good money to watch pretty youngsters dying slowly, and five since The Fault in Our Stars revived this morbid subgenre with notable commercial success. Justin Baldoni’s middling derivative courts viewer sympathies with a somewhat novel conceit, taking place almost exclusively within the hospital where perky vlogger and cystic fibrosis patient Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) has been confined as part of a drug trial. Dragging her oxygen line around intensive care, she crosses paths with a fellow trialist, floppy-haired hunk Will (Cole Sprouse), and a wicked new twist is added to an old meet-cute: they can’t get too close, lest they exchange potentially lethal lungfuls of bacteria. Here are two kids who could kill with a kiss. Related: Dying of the light: why Hollywood needs to get over its obsession with terminally ill teens The headline of this piece was changed on 25 March 2019. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Jayda G: Significant Changes review – inclusive manifesto for dancefloors – and oceans

(Ninja Tune) Berlin is famous for its vast nightclubbing landscape, with destination venues existing alongside an endless supply of spots for house-music enthusiasts, just off the beaten track. Yet it also harbours a reputation for having drained the genre of all colour, sometime during the course of a transatlantic cultural dialogue that would reshape the scene. It’s lucky for the city, then, that it now counts Jayda G as a resident: the Canadian-raised dance music producer and DJ moved to Berlin in 2016 with a contagious affinity for convivial disco, funk and house in tow. She leads by example in her sets, performing with a lively physical presence that sparks an electric atmosphere and dares other dancers to match her pace. Incorporating her research as an environmental toxicologist, her debut album Significant Changes serves as a manifesto for both dancefloors and ocean floors. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Jenny Lewis: ‘It’s scary to share this stuff, but it’s true’

She’s one of the world’s pre-eminent songwriters – but Lewis didn’t feel she could tackle the subject of her mother’s heroin addiction until now ‘I just had to blab it all out there,” Jenny Lewis says, with a sigh. “Right at the beginning. First interview. Blab, blab, blab. I regret it, but I put it out into the ether, and maybe I’ll learn something.” As Lewis began the promotion for her brilliant fourth solo album, On the Line, she began to talk publicly for the first time about her upbringing. About how her mother, Linda, had been a heroin addict since Lewis’s early childhood. About being estranged from her for two decades. About the rapprochement they had in 2017 as Linda was dying of liver cancer caused by hepatitis C. Now she’s facing the reality that everyone who comes to talk to her about the record has to ask her about it. So why did she do it? I’ve got a bunch of new songs and my music isn’t about my male collaborators Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Ibibio Sound Machine: Doko Mien review – borderless groove polymaths

(Merge Records) At a time when Korean boybands go global, Latin pop tops charts worldwide and Afrobeats pervades the UK rap scene, a London band which combines New York new wave and disco with Ghanaian highlife and Nigerian folk culture seems like a proposition with more mainstream potential by the day. Certainly Ibibio Sound Machine’s trademark sound – a groove-driven melange of styles which also takes in gospel, funk, post- and electro-punk and contemporary R&B, alongside African polyrhythms, horns and guitar – is lively and luxurious enough for the eight-piece outfit to pursue next-level popularity with their third album. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

Lucy Rose: No Words Left review – her starkest, most striking album yet

(Communion) Lucy Rose has gradually stripped back her sound since releasing her debut album in 2012. At first, her thoughtful acoustic songwriting shared some of her early collaborators Bombay Bicycle Club’s ornate indie twee; later, it came to breathe a little as she explored southern soul on her 2017 album Something’s Changing, her first release as an independent artist after negotiating her way out of her old major label deal. She toured South America alone, liaising direct with fans to arrange gigs and accommodation, and reclaimed control over her career. Continue reading… [hmp_player]