Diary December 2015 Books, exhibition, film, show, opera & theatre


THEATRE Harlequinade/ All on Her Own

In his first season managing his own company, Kenneth Branagh presents a double bill of works by Terence Rattigan. Harlequinade is a charming comedy about theatre folk and the mayhem behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Zoë Wanamaker showcases her formidable talents in the monologue All on Her Own, a gripping drama in which a woman’s dark secret gradually emerges, until 13th January at the Garrick Theatre

EXHIBITION Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture

The notion that sculptures could move was once radical. Conceived by the American engineer-turned-artist Alexander Calder, the new form was dubbed the “mobile” by surrealist Marcel Duchamp. Calder’s kinetic creations conjoined coloured shapes and wire, moved by the air or a motor, and depicted landscapes, abstract images, or portraits of cultural figures such as dancer, singer and actress Josephine Baker. The exhibition includes more than 100 of Calder’s major works from galleries around the world, as well as his collaborative projects in the fields of film, theatre, music and dance. From 11th November at Tate Modern

OPERA Eugene Onegin

Based on the verse novel by Pushkin, Tchaikovsky’s opera is a stirring exploration of tragedy and love that has captivated audiences ever since it was first performed in 1879. It is a story of missed chances, in which the haughty Onegin spurns the attentions of the beautiful young Tatyana – only for him to eventually reciprocate her love when she’s given herself in marriage to another man. In director Kasper Holten’s production, the turbulence of Tatyana and Onegin’s youth is contrasted with the self-realisation they gain in later life. From 19th December 2015 to 7th January 2016 at the Royal Opera House

SHOW The London International Horse Show

Saddle up for a breathtaking display of equestrian skills. Now in its 108th year, The London International Horse Show is a week-long exhibition of daring horsemanship performed at a world-class level. Along with dressage and show jumping, there’s a parade by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (resplendent in their elegant livery, Shetland ponies taking part in their own Grand National, and horse whisperer Jean-François Pignon at work. Plus, dog lovers can enjoy the spectacle of the Kennel Club canine agility obstacle course. From 15th to 21st December at Olympia

FILM In the Heart of the Sea

Based on the true story that inspired Moby-Dick, the historic epic depicts a gargantuan battle between man and beast. The whaler Essex sailed out of Massachusetts hoping for rich pickings; instead, its crew were on the receiving end of a sperm whale’s violent wrath, putting all their lives in peril. Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Rush) directs, while Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy are buffeted on deck. Released on 25th December in the UK

Books for Christmas stockings

Nopi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully

Recreate signature dishes from Soho-based restaurant Nopi at home, with the help of head chef Ramael Scully. The volume features more than 120 step-by-step recipes.

The Parisian Gentleman by Hugo Jacomet

Having catalogued his sartorial tips in a blog, Hugo Jacomet has now committed his findings to print. The book chronicles the traditions of ateliers and gives insight into the craftsmanship behind the garments.

Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection

Once the property of Mughal emperors, British royalty, sultans and shahs, the 100 historic pieces featured in the book Bejewelled Treasures are part of a single collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum from 21st November to 28th March. Among the standout treasures are a carved dagger and decorations from an imperial throne. Also included are works by Cartier and other high-jewellery houses, as well as pieces by contemporary Indian designers – all of which demonstrate the continuing influence of the subcontinent.

Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut,” said Dr Seuss. And with this mantra in mind, the Lonely Planet team’s latest book reveals 500 of the world’s must-see places, ranked in order of brilliance. www.lonelyplanet.com

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