Opera review: Scottish Opera: Nixon in China, Theatre Royal Glasgow

HINDSIGHT is a wonderful thing, and it’s what informs and vitalises John Fulljames’ challenging new vision of John Adams’ 1987 opera Nixon in China, presented here by Scottish Opera as part of a co-production with The Royal Danish Theatre and Teatro Real Madrid. This is a contextualised history lesson for everyone, cast included.

Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes dedicated Richard III to Kurt Cobain on what would have been his 53rd birthday. Picture: Wittwoophoto/Shutterstock

Music review: Supergrass, Barrowland, Glasgow

SUPERGRASS were always among the tightest and most talented of the Britpop bands who broke through in the mid-90s. If it wasn’t for the proverbial creative differences, they could have trucked along happily to this day but, after a ten-year absence, they have returned to the unbridled jubilation of the Barrowland masses, kicking off this exuberant comeback set with their punky calling card Caught by the Fuzz, one of the all time great debut singles.

Conductor Nicolas Altstaedt

Music review: Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Nicolas Altstaedt, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

FROM the opening notes of Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture – which conductor Nicolas Altstaedt ripped out of the SCO musicians, feet slamming on the stage and fists furiously snatching at the air in front of him – it was clear this was going to be a concert of blistering intensity, and so it proved. And while at times Altstaedt’s direction felt a little over-emphatic, it was hard not to be swept up in his unshakeable conviction and his raw sense of purpose.

Stevie Jones of Sound of Yell

Music review: Sound of Yell, CCA, Glasgow

“If a sound engineer had an anxiety dream it would look like this,” said Stevie Jones with a smile in the direction of his own live sound technician and a gesture towards the seven-piece group of Glasgow luminaries surrounding him, whom he referred to as “the ludicrously talented musicians who indulge these madcap shenanigans”.

Angel Olsen PIC: Matt Cowan/Getty Images

Music review: Angel Olsen, Barrowland, Glasgow

Missouri singer-songwriter Angel Olsen has expanded her sound – and subsequently her fanbase – with her shimmering soulful fourth album, All Mirrors, all the better to fill Barrowland with lashings of dark David Lynchian romance on Valentine’s Day.

Yan Pascal Tortelier

Music review: Iceland Symphony Orchestra & Yan Pascal Tortelier, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

“Are you still part of it?” quipped conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier, explaining that he’d finish the eighth and final concert in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s UK tour with two encores of British music. Joking aside – and despite persuasive accounts of the brief movements from Walton’s Henry V and Elgar’s The Wand of Youth – it did feel like a surprisingly long concert.

Julian Cope PIC: Valerio Berdini/Shutterstock

Music review: Julian Cope, Liquid Room, Edinburgh

How does one address Julian Cope these days? The former Teardrop Explodes frontman has many guises – post-punk hero, indie pop troubadour, historical writer, esteemed academic, playful political commentator, gnostic rocker, Krautrocker, drone rocker, off his rocker – not to mention his numerous appellations: arch-drude (“self-styled” he added), Lord Yatesbury and now Grand Prince Julian, presumptive ruler of Sutherland, resplendent in his trademark hippy military chic. “I’ll try not to be too imperious,” he reassured his acolytes.

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