Pink Floyd Exhibition at the V&A Announced

THE Victoria and Albert Museum will mount a sensational new show celebrating the phenomenal success of ‘60s psychedelic rock band, Pink Floyd,  next year. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the band’s debut single, Arnold Layne, and comprises a spectacular laser light-show, unseen concert footage and a host of band memorabilia.

Pink Floyd Pink Floyd 1971 Belsize Park © Pink Floyd Music Ltd

Curated by Victoria Broackes in collaboration with surviving band members and entertainment architects, Stufish the show recreates designs from the band’s spectacular sets and album covers which include The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall and The Division Bell. The exhibition highlights Pink Floyd’s pioneering approach in both sound and vision defined by Museum Director, Martin Roth as “an impressive and enduring British design story of creative success”.

floyd 1 600x400Pink Floyd. Photograph: Storm Thorgerson © Pink Floyd Music Ltd

Following the success of the V&A’s  show, David Bowie Is, this exhibition offers fans the opportunity to take part in an immersive sonic experience utilising cutting-edge museum technology by audio specialist, Sennheiser to recreate an psychedelic scene of the 60s. The show displays artefacts from the Museum’s extensive performance collections and also from band members comprising original album covers designed by Hipgnosis, Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell and Storm Thorgerson, posters, handwritten lyrics and not least, Pink Floyd’s instruments including their vintage Azimuth Co-ordinator, the first panning control for sound systems.

Attending the announcement of the exhibition, Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason said, “I did think we’d be short of material. That’s turned out to be entirely incorrect. I can’t tell you how much stuff won’t fit in.”

floyd 2 600x400Pink Floyd 1994 Division Bell publicity shot – Credit Albert Wilson © Pink Floyd Archive

by Miranda Charalambous

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains runs from May 13 – October 1, 2017 at Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2R
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Front page image: Pink Floyd 1971 Belsize Park © Pink Floyd Music Ltd

The exhibition is promoted by Michael Cohl of Iconic Entertainment Studios

Versace Dreams the Vibes of Chicago – Film by Bruce Weber

VERSACE launch their FW16 collection with Chicago Is My beat, a grainy black-and-white film shot by Bruce Weber starring supermodels, Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss. The collaboration rekindles a time-honoured relationship between the flamboyant fashion brand and Weber, a fashion photographer renowned for his unrivaled productions both for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.

Chicago Is My BeatVersace FW16 – Chicago Is My Beat. Film © Bruce Weber

The short film places fashion at the heart of the community, uniting empowered glamour with the spirited pulse of the metropolis where energetic routines embrace Versace’s vison with ease. Rock-chic and freestyle dancing give way to svelte gowns and languid looks as the hubbub proceeds into the night. Keith Milkie’s arresting operatic soundtrack drifts to the tune of Chicago’s past while Versace re-imagines the future.

Bruce Weber says, “The actor Robert Mitchum once told me, ‘When you first get to a new town, always make friends with a Blonde’. Well, when I got to Chicago, I found my blonde in you, Donatella. I wanted us to visit this city together because of its rich history and the spirit of love and harmony you feel in its music.

“Chicago is going through a tough time at the moment and could use a little encouragement – just like we all need every once in a while. Because the kindness of its people helped me to make these photographs, I feel like I can now call Chicago ‘my beat’.”

“Bruce Weber is the true master of our times. His photography is deeply personal and rich, a reflection of the world as he sees it. It has been my pleasure to enter once again into that world for this Versace campaign. With this new campaign, Bruce gave me my history back,” adds Donatella Versace.


by Miranda Charalambous

Versace FW2016 – Chicago Is My Beat. Film © Bruce Weber

Welsh National Opera Unveils Unique Musical Event

The Welsh National Opera celebrates its 70th birthday and the centenary of Battle of the Somme with the world premiere of a new opera In Parenthesis. A commemoration of one of the most important battles of WW1, the play is an adaptation of a poem by David Jones and has been commissioned by the Nicholas John Trust with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.

parenthesis 1David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins. Photo by David Massey

Composer Iain Bell and director David Pountney worked with conductor Carlo Rizzi to create a unique commemoration of the events of the Battle resulting in a unique narrative of wartime that is both suggestive and true to the events and gentle, subliminal and otherworldly. Co-librettists David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins have contributed to unveiling full musical potential and richness of In Parenthesis.

Iain Bell’s bold use of various musical styles – traditional Welsh folk songs, marching rhythms, fanfares and beautiful melodies – makes for a unique musical masterpiece fitting with the transcendent emotions carried by the original text. The final result is an opera that conveys the notions of hope, rebirth and a general lesson in mindful rememberance.

parenthesis 2Iain Bell. Photo by David Massey

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with WNO in bringing David Jones’ epic poem In Parenthesis to the stage.  At 14-18 NOW we commission artists to create contemporary responses to the First World War, connecting audiences across the UK with the centenary. Iain Bell’s opera will bring to life the story of these young soldiers at Mametz and the horrors they faced.”

parenthesis 4David Jones. Photo courtesy of The Estate of David Jones.

The costumes and staging were designed by Robert Innes Hopkins and are both historically accurate and mystical. The principal role of Private John Ball will be created by tenor Andrew Bidlack and furthermore notable performers gracing the stage in In Parenthesis are Mark Le Brocq, Donald Maxwel, Alexandra Deshorties, Graham Clark, Marcus Farnsworth, George Humphreys and Peter Coleman-Wright.

In a bid to bring the opera to as wide an audience as possible, the WNO will create an extensive programme of digital, youth and community projects. In February, the WNO will launch a digital platform. The platform will feature a series of episodes that will explore the background to the WNO’s In Parenthesis, the author of this epic war poem as well as other supporting content.

Other performances of In Parenthesis will be streamed live and free here from July 1 for six months on the platform and ARTE TV website. Members of the WNO will also engage in an extensive youth programmes including writing workshops, staging mini operas and other performances nationwide. In additional the National Museum Cardiff’s War Hell will support the endeavor with their The Battle of Mametz Wood in Art Exhibition and the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff will display a digital, interactive Installation commissioned by WNO.

by Magda Pirowska

Following its world première at Wales Millennium Centre (May 13, 7.15 pm) and further performances in Cardiff (May 21 and June 3), the work will tour to Birmingham and to London, as part of WNO’s annual residency at the Royal Opera House. A special performance at the Royal Opera House on Friday 1 July, 7.30pm will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.

The project is supported by Colwinston Charitable Trust, the Jane Hodge Foundation, the Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charity, the Kirby Laing Foundation, the John S Cohen Foundation and the 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, European Commission’s Creative Europe programme, The Royal Opera and Opera Europa.

André 3000 Benjamin presents i feel ya at SCAD, Georgia


CURRENTLY ON show at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and the SCAD Museum of Art is the exhibition, i feel ya: SCAD + André 3000 Benjamin which explores fashion, film, and painting through the work of artist, musician, performer, fashion innovator, and actor André Benjamin (aka André 3000 of Grammy-Award-winning musical group Outkast), filmmaker Greg Brunkalla, and painter Jimmy O’Neal.

Phrases printed on custom-made jumpsuits designed by André Benjamin which the artist believes “initiate a powerful exchange”, reflected in Jimmy O’Neal’s large-scale abstract paintings alongside an experimental film directed by Greg Brunkalla. “More than a casual affirmation, i feel ya is an invitation to think critically and consider rhetorical expression,” claims the gallery.

AndreSCAD SS2Some of Benjamin’s 47 jumpsuits

Presented in a dynamic display, Benjamin’s 47 jumpsuits were originally created for Outkast’s 2014 worldwide tour celebrating the band’s 20 year anniversary. The slogans reveal some of Benjamin’s musings and observations –  intended as “a response to today’s content-heavy digital landscape, which provides an unrelenting flood of images and opinions – i feel ya engages viewers as vital participants in a socially dynamic conversation.”

AndreSCAD SS3Greg Brunkalla, Andre Benjamin and Jimmy O’Neal

Central to i feel ya is a commissioned film, Trumpets, conceived and directed by SCAD alumnus Greg Brunkalla and produced at SCAD’s Savannah Film Studios, a 22,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. The film uses the phrases on the jumpsuits as a “creative point of departure to build a broader conversation about language and context”. Two projectors cast words and phrases onto a single surface without syncing to the film itself – a spontaneous effect that creates a wholly unique experience for each audience and screening.

“SCAD is a place of convergence for smart, creative people,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “This exhibition is a collaboration in the truest sense – André’s singular style is illuminated by the brilliant work of SCAD alumni artists.”

“As I initially thought about displaying this collection, I immediately knew I that wanted to work with my longtime collaborative partners at SCAD,” says Benjamin at the time of the exhibition’s original showing at Mana in Miami last December.

As a versatile artist in music, performance, fashion design, and film, Benjamin’s became interested in art as teenager, later becoming internationally famous as a member of Outkast—the first hip-hop act to win the Album of the Year Grammy for 2004’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which sold more than 11 million copies. Benjamin has been a longtime supporter of SCAD, particularly through the university’s Collaborative Learning Center, an interdisciplinary learning community that facilitates sponsored projects between SCAD students and external partners.

Greg Brunkalla’s recent work includes interactive installations and advertisements for Nike, HP, and Lincoln; music videos for Vampire Weekend; and a series of intimate celebrity interviews for The New York Times and W titled Screen Tests, which earned him three Emmy nominations and a Webby Award. Brunkalla earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television from SCAD in 2001. He is represented by Skunk, the Los Angeles-based production company that supported the making of Trumpets.

Jimmy O’Neal has exhibited paintings, videos, installations, and performance art in galleries and museums around the world. In 2003, his “brain machine”, a device that paints from EEG connections to the artist, was included in Painting 4, a large-scale exhibition at the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Massachusetts that included his work alongside paintings by Ingrid Calame, Katharina Grosse, and Michael Lin. His large-scale mirrored work The Nine Muses (2007) is permanently installed at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. O’Neal graduated as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from SCAD in 1989.

i feel ya is curated by Laurie Ann Farrell, SCAD’s Executive Director of Exhibitions, who oversees the SCAD Museum of Art and SCAD galleries in Savannah and Atlanta.

by Caroline Simpson

i feel ya is on until September 13, 2015, at SCAD Museum of Art, 601 Turner Blvd, Savannah, GA
Monday, closed, Tuesday – Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday, noon to 5 pm,  Sunday, noon to 5 pm
Daily admission to the exhibition is free for all SCAD Card holders and museum members. The exhibition is open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

Life by the River: A Month of Events on The Thames

Totally Thames SS4Great River Race – credit Andres Arias Mesa

ORGANISED BY Thames Festival Trust (TFT) , Totally Thames 2015 festival aims to bring London’s river to life throughout September with over 150 arts, cultural and river events on the Thames.

Building on the success of 2014’s festival, which attracted 2.7m people to 134 events, this year’s Totally Thames will “celebrate the Thames and the many different ways London’s residents and visitors can connect with the river”. From paddle steamers to cruising on a Tall Ship to wild swimming, 20k Thames Bridges Trek and the fishing, kayaking and boat trips at Tidefest, to the annual Source to Sea River Relay, there will be many opportunities to engage with the Thames. For those who prefer to stay by the riverbank, there is mudlarking on the foreshore and an open day at Tower Beach.

The festival also offers concerts in riverside churches, special events at Thameside attractions, a late night tryst at Chelsea Physic Garden, special offers at riverside restaurants, and a night of poetry celebrating wild swimming. Over 300 man powered vessels take part in The Great River Race a colourful river marathon, which starts in Millwall on the Isle of Dogs and finishes by Ham House in Richmond in which over 300 man powered vessels take part in this river marathon.

Among the boats racing are 12 Dutch sloops manned by active and retired Dutch Marines that will have rowed 350km across the English Channel from Rotterdam to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. A formal head-to-head challenge from the Dutch Marines has been accepted by the Royal Navy which has confirmed that at least one of its own fleet will be crewed by Royal Marines.

Totally Thames SS1Rain Interactive by Luzinterruptus

Rain Interactive by Luzinterruptus will take place down the river at Waterman’s Arts Centre, Brentford, where a rain drop canopy will be built over three days by volunteers working alongside the artists, is part of a weekend of river-themed events by the Thames, featuring emerging artists, an underwater maze, graffiti and cabaret.

Totally Thames SS3Iain Chambers, Bascule Chamber Concert – Totally Thames 2015 – credit Steve Stills (4)

Innovative live art in various forms is also included in the festival along the whole stretch of the Thames. As well as theatre performances, kids’ choirs and a unique contemporary opera, The Lighthouse, accessed by boat at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Totally Thames is presenting the premiere of Bascule Chamber Concert inside Tower Bridge. The first ever public event to take place inside this fascinating feat of engineering, where composer Iain Chambers will transform this global landmark into a giant musical instrument based on sound recordings taken inside the chambers.

Totally Thames SS2Londonist Afloat – credit Londonist

Totally Thames also brings sculptor of underwater art Jason de Caires Taylor to the city his first ever London commission, The Rising Tide, a series of four equine sculptures installed on the foreshore at Nine Elms on the South Bank. These  sculptures will be visible at low tide and are in place throughout September.

Totally Thames Festival Director Adrian Evans, Festival Director says, “With 200 events to provoke interest, excitement and involvement with the Thames, its foreshore and the many assets and attractions that grace its waterfront, in September – London’s ‘river month’ – the Thames is the most vibrant river in the world.”

by Jane Dale

You can travel to Totally Thames events by boat. Major boat operators are offering 2-for-1 on river travel throughout September.

Totally London is on twitter @TotallyThames and Facebook

Welsh National Opera Goes Mad this Autumn Season

WNO May SS2Sweeney Todd – David Birrell, Gillian Bevan and Ensemble. Photograph: Manuel Harlan

MADNESS is the theme of the Welsh National Opera’s autumn season this year with the company presenting three new productions that will explore the torment and turmoil of this highly disturbing human condition through some of the finest musical expressions of madness and the human condition. The season also launches WNO’s 70th birthday year which will see the company stage seven new productions over the course of the year – including two world premières – and a classic revival.

A new production of Bellini’s I puritani opens the autumn season. I puritani was the composer’s final opera and widely regarded as a bel canto masterpiece and will be directed by former WNO staff director Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of Den Jyske Opera/Danish National Opera who are also co-producers.  Carlo Rizzi returns to conduct the opera and celebrated bel canto tenor Barry Banks returns to sing Arturo.

Next in the season is one of Handel’s greatest operas – Orlando – which comes to WNO in a production that originated at Scottish Opera in 2011.  Orlando provides a fascinating insight into musical virtuosity as a metaphor for insanity as Orlando’s sudden and complete descent into madness at the end of Act II is masterfully illustrated through Handel’s music, which balances his inner suffering with fevered anguish to immense effect.  Directed by Harry Fehr, Orlando will be set in 1940s London during World War II, providing a fitting backdrop to heighten the emotional impact of the story against the devastation of the Blitz.

WNO Autumn SSWNO’s Sweeney Todd with Gillian Bevan (Mrs Lovett) and Ensemble 197.  Photograph: Manuel Harlan

Closing the season is  Sondheim’s musical classic, Sweeney Todd, which depicts not only the madness of the protagonist but of society as a whole.  This production promises a musical with all the emotional impact of opera and will be a rare opportunity to hear Sweeney Todd with the celebrated WNO Chorus and Orchestra. This production is set in the late 1970s/early 1980s and provides a fresh take on the story with echoes of Thatcher’s Britain.

Sweeney Todd is a co-production between Welsh National Opera, Wales Millennium Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with Royal Exchange Theatre, Sweeney Todd will be directed by WYP Artistic Director James Brining and conducted by James Holmes in a staging adapted for WNO.

Commenting on the season, WNO Artistic Director David Pountney says: “The paradox of music is that it is a highly rational means of expression, much more logically organised than the language of speech for instance, and yet it is at the same time the supreme means of expressing all kinds of extreme emotional states.

“Among these, madness has been a constant inspiration to composers eager to test the ability of music to penetrate the most radical states of mental disorder.  Our season presents a fascinatingly wide range of musical expression dedicated to this phenomenon, from the virtuosic roulades of Handel, via the elegant refinement of Bellini to the raw craziness of Sondheim’s gruesome Barber.”

by Jane Dale

The WNO Autumn 2015 Madness season opens with  I Puritani  at the Wales Millennium Centre  Sept  19 at  7.00pm
Box Office (02920) 636464 (Subject to booking fee)

The Opera Platform – Free, Live and on Demand – Available Now

WNO May SS3Cavalleria rusticana  – with Marianna Tarasova (Santuzza) and the chorus of WNO will be performed
by the WNO next summer. Photograph:  Brian Tarr

THE Royal Opera and Welsh National Opera is part of  The Opera Platform initiative set up by Opera Europa a new online platform dedicated to opera. The Opera Platform will offer, both opera fans and those interested to experience it for the first time, the opportunity to watch performances and access exclusive backstage content via a new online platform, The Opera Platform which is free, live and available on demand.


WNO May SS4A new production of Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande is part of the WNO 2015 summer season – A Terrible Innocence

This new website is supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme and created by a partnership led by Opera Europa – the European association of opera companies and festivals – with cultural broadcaster ARTE and 15 European opera companies including The Royal Opera and WNO in the UK. This partnership aims to extend the reach of opera internationally, as well as in Europe.

Frontispiece to In Parenthesis, (1937). Copyright The Estate of David Jones; Amgueddfa Cymru – the National Museum Wales

The Opera Platform offers free content from the 15 opera companies involved including full opera performances, extracts, synopses and background material, artist interviews and behind-the-scenes documentaries.

Król Roger will be the first opera from The Royal Opera to be streamed on The Opera Platform on May 16 2015. Szymanowski’s opera Król Roger is performed for the first time at Covent Garden this season, in a new production by Kasper Holten, Director of Opera for The Royal Opera.

The production is the first collaboration between Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano and Kasper Holten. Designs are by Steffen Aarfing, lighting design is by Jon Clark, video designs by Luke Halls and choreography by Cathy Marston.

The first full-length opera from Welsh National Opera to be streamed on the platform will be the Company’s new commission for 2016, In Parenthesis. Based on the poem In Parenthesis by World War I poet David  Jones, this new opera is composed by Iain Bell with a libretto by David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins. It will be directed by WNO Artistic Director David Pountney and conducted by Carlo Rizzi, with design by Robert Innes Hopkins.

by Caroline Simpson

Max Richter Writes Score for new ballet Woolf Works at the ROH

Max Richter works with Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor on Woolf Works, Royal Ballet, Virginia Woolf balletRecomposed (C) Erik Weiss

MAX Richter is indisputably one of the foremost composers and musical artists of his generation, especially in the arena of electro-acoustic work. This year, the Grammy-nominated composer brings his talents to the world of ballet with a new collaboration with the Royal Ballet on Woolf Works.

For this work, Richter teams up again with acclaimed Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor on Woolf Works. This ballet, which is Richter’s first evening-length piece, takes inspiration from the life and works of Virginia Woolf, functioning simultaneously as a biographical narrative of her life as well as a walk through three of her novels – Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves, plus a selection of her autobiographical writings.

Max Richter works with Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor on Woolf Works, Royal Ballet, Virginia Woolf balletRecomposed Max Richter (C) Erik Weiss

Not surprisingly, this collaboration between McGregor and Richter is dynamic, multi-sensory and interdisciplinary, creating a new mode through multiple languages, media, technologies, movement and symphonic music. The pair previously teamed up for Infra in 2008, the short opera Sum, and the ballet Kairos for the Zurich Ballet, which pulled from Richter’s fifth album The Four Seasons Recomposed.

Max Richter works with Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor on Woolf Works, Royal Ballet, Virginia Woolf balletThe Blue Notebooks by Max Richter cover

In spite of the eclectic, often experimental nature of his works and his deep interest in a variety of musical styles, particularly punk and electronic music, Richter is classically trained, receiving a degree in composition from the Royal Academy of Music and studying with acclaimed Luciano Berio in Italy. From the beginning, Richter’s output has been steady and prolific with five solo albums he composed and recorded himself, composing for opera, ballet, cinema and stage; and a wide range of collaborations and installations with other artists.

by Jessica Quillin

Woolf Works will be staged at the Royal Opera House from Monday 11 May through Tuesday 26 May 2015. For information and tickets, visit here