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12:00am Thursday 23rd August 2012
Thompson’s debut novel, longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize, contains ten apparently unconnected stories about a constantly changing city or cities.The author teaches English at St Anne’s College, Oxford, which could perhaps be one or more of his university cities — were it not for the quayside and the strange dystopian names. For example, one of the detectives in a Sherlock Holmes-style chapter, The Significant City of Lazarus Glass, is a Professor of Ratiocination at the unnamed university.
9:00am Thursday 23rd August 2012
Hale’s life of Titian, one of the world’s greatest artists, is the first biography to be published in more than 130 years. This is partly because so little is known about the painter, but Hale fills the gap with vivid descriptions of life in renaissance Venice during his long life. Born some time between 1488 and 1490, Titian died in his late 80s with failing eyesight, perhaps because of cataracts or perhaps macular degeneration. During that time, Columbus landed in America, Luther challenged the Pope’s authority and Venice’s golden age began to fade. Hale’s scholarship reveals him to have been a difficult man, particularly in old age, and obsessed with chasing up payments from his patrons. Only half of his 600-odd paintings survive, including Triumph of Love, pictured above, which is owned by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford following a public appeal. The background shows the artist’s beloved Venice while behind are the Dolomites, where he was born in a remote mountain village. No one knows how he came to be sent to Venice to study painting, but Hale speculates that his talent must have shone through. The cherubic figure of Cupid in the Ashmolean painting reminds us that one of Titian’s most devoted imitators was Rubens, and Hale has no doubt that he influenced art for ever.
2:30pm Wednesday 22nd August 2012
The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company made history with a rare fully-professional production of the final Savoy opera, The Grand Duke. A bold move, perhaps, as Gilbert’s storyline — involving a theatrical troupe plotting to depose the miserly Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig — is particularly convoluted and lacks his customary razor-sharp satire. But Sullivan’s score is as delightful and sparkling as ever, and there was plenty to enjoy in Andrew Nicklin’s bright, colourful production.
2:27pm Wednesday 22nd August 2012
1:43pm Friday 17th August 2012
12:34pm Wednesday 15th August 2012
If you want to raise money for multiple sclerosis research by staging a recital, there can be no more appropriate venue than the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, named after the famous cellist who was robbed of her career by the disease. And that’s doubly true if you’re a cellist yourself, like 18-year-old Ghislaine McMullin, of Headington.
3:38pm Friday 10th August 2012
3:36pm Friday 10th August 2012
10:19am Thursday 9th August 2012
9:54am Thursday 9th August 2012
As I walked across Hyde Park to the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday afternoon, there was a great roar of delight from inside the park’s giant Olympic video screen enclosure. Andy Murray was on his way to Olympic gold.