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Saturday 24th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

The Star’s critics look ahead to The Magic Flute, The Songs of Ewan MacColl, John Yeadon’s Englandia and A Study of Modern Japanese Sculpture


At the Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, February 13-28

Mozart’s most famous opera is a story of young people finding their place in the world, working out for themselves what is true and what is false, what is right and what is quite wrong — a journey through darkness into the light. This family-friendly production combines Mozart’s sublime music with surreal staging featuring an angry lobster, a newspaper-reading lion and a fish doubling as a bicycle. Its rich mix of comedy, pantomime, philosophy and religion makes it an ideal introduction to Mozart’s opera, especially for children.


GLASGOW MUSIC: Blood and Roses: The Songs of Ewan MacColl

At the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sauchiehall Street, January 25

Ewan MacColl was the most pivotal figure in Britain’s folk revival, from establishing the country’s first folk club to his groundbreaking Radio Ballads series and penning such modern classics as The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Dirty Old Town. This concert pays tribute to that extraordinary legacy with a stellar array of artists including Paul Buchanan, Norma Waterson, Jarvis Cocker, Kate St John, Dick Gaughan, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart performing, along with four of MacColl’s grandsons — Jamie MacColl (Bombay Bicycle Club), Harry Mead (Klangkarussell), Alex MacColl and Tom MacColl. Unmissable.




At Gallery 150, Livery Street, Until February 8

Englandia combines John Yeadon’s fascination with the grotesque and popular culture — witness his paintings of ventriloquist dummies in this show — and landscape paintings exploring national identity. Such contradictions between the natural and artificial worlds informing Englandia underpin his view that national identity is a myth and “Englishness” a construct. It’s typical of the radical and dialectical perspective informing his work, making this witty and provocative exhibition well worth seeking out.



LEEDS EXHIBITION: A Study of Modern Japanese Sculpture

At the Henry Moore Institute, The Headrow, January 28-April 19

This exhibition displays nine works from the Taisho and early Showa periods (1912-41), a time when sculptors turned their attention to Western sculptural practices, and features works by masters such as Kotaro Takamura, Heihachi Hashimoto and Chozan Sato which have never been seen in this country before. They include representations of nature, polychrome carvings of dried fish, birds, a crustacean and a hibernating toad, a stone carved in wood and a hand modelled in clay and cast in bronze. These sculptures celebrate small things and fragments, treating inanimate objects, living creatures and human subjects in much the same way.