Author: Kaaren Hale

Viceroy House

For the British the “special relationship” has always been India. Starting in 1600, under Elisabeth I, the East India Trading Company was granted a charter. Thus assumed an incredibly complex interplay between a very old civilisation and a newer mercantilist …Read More

St. Joan

It is important to put the play “St. Joan” in the context of George Bernard Shaw’s lifelong belief in socialism and feminism as co-efficients. He believed that the one (feminism) could not exist without the reorganization of society, i.e., the …Read More

Jackie

“Jackie” has opened to good reviews. Natalie Portman is to be congratulated for her costuming and ability to look gorgeous in 20-foot across misty close ups. She has a soft and vulnerable face and can cry effectively without disturbing its …Read More

Written on Skin

This is a modern-day version of a tale written in the age of Courtly Love (the 13th Century). “Written on Skin” by George Benjamin, with text by Martin Crimp, is told in opera form and was performed at the Royal …Read More

Woolf Works

There has been a great deal of talk and counter talk about Wayne MacGregor’s “Woolf Works,” a ballet in three acts. Is Virginia Woolf relevant for our times, given the feminist movement, and scientific advances? On balance, the answer is …Read More

Cuba

Just a little report on that garden paradise called Cuba, 90 miles off the coast of Florida. First let me explain the reason for this trip, which was not sun and sand, but more of a fact-finding mission. My husband …Read More

Der Rosenkavalier

There are some operas that have a meaning for us far beyond their plot, the music, the composer, his librettist, the times, the place, the history. “Der Rosenkavalier” is one that has resonance for all of us. More than anything …Read More

The Dresser

“The Dresser,” a poignant tale of theater personalities — the highs and the lows of touring and the relationship between a bombastic Actor/Manager (patterned after the fabled Donald Wolfit), and his dresser, Norman — is revived at the Duke of …Read More

Rauschenberg at the Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is still a HAPPENING. Scores of children rolling down a carpeted hill as one enters the enormous hallway, with supportive parents in attendance. The escalators lift and transport myriads of people all out for a day of …Read More

Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House

This is the story of a young impressionable girl who has a bit of a thing for riches and sex — a common theme in opera. From an early age she is attracted to wealth, power and male attention that …Read More

Milos

We have been vowing to visit the London version of Milos (fish restaurant) and last night was the night. It is a newer, glitzier, somehow less “spontaneous,” more-designed version of our New York favorite. The room is vast, white, has …Read More

Connolly

The name Joseph still resonates in London, despite his untimely demise ten years ago. Joseph Ettedgui started his retailing career on the King’s Road in the early 70s. He stealthily entered the London style consciousness over the next thirty years. …Read More

Les Contes d’Hoffmann

The big question presented in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” is: What is the deepest wish of the poet, the artist? Is it to have it both ways: success in the material world with all its public demands, and/or emotional fulfillment, i.e., …Read More

Anastasia

What is memory? What is real and what is merely imagined? What distinguishes the difference between the two? Is it what we believe to be true? These are the questions at the root of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet, “Anastasia,” at the Royal …Read More

The Red Barn

The National Theatre on the South Bank is a complex of buildings: a museum, restaurants and cinema. It was built after WWII, in 1951, as part of the Festival of Britain, as a celebration of survival and as a statement …Read More

James Ensor

James Ensor was a painter from Belgium whose mysterious works are being displayed upstairs in the Royal Academy in the Sackler Galleries. Ensor is not generally well-known, but he is studied in art history classes literally as a bridge between …Read More

Picasso Portraits

I always have a little problem with Picasso. Yes, I know that he is the genius of the 20th century and all others pale alongside. But there is always a feeling of slight ickiness when it comes to women. No …Read More

Norma

Antonio Pappano is a maestro extraordinaire and his conducting of “Norma” by Bellini at the Royal Opera House on October 4 was masterful. The story of “Norma” is a bit complicated. It is an amalgam of romantic elements, religiosity, war, …Read More

L’Atelier

It has been some years since we experienced the delights of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Soho. Visiting friends from New York wanted to go. It has not changed much. The ground floor bar, which serves on high tables, is …Read More

Chucs

London is changing. London is always changing. If it isn’t buyer’s remorse about the Brexit process, hard or soft, it is the indulgence in new restaurants, the Arts, Antique Shows etc. Frieze is coming. PAD is opening. Olympia is pending. …Read More

Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy

Despite all remarks and anxieties about Brexit, London continues in its frenzy to dazzle. The Post reveals all the new catalogues for the latest fashion looks. Sloane Street is replete with visitors, albeit with head coverings and jewels mid-morning, and …Read More

Nabucco

Plácido Domingo is one of the world’s greatest musicians, singers (whether baritone now, or tenor then) and humanists. Having followed his career trajectory for decades it is safe to say that last night’s performance in “Nabucco” in the lead role …Read More

Neapolitan Quartet

Who is Elena Ferrante – male, female, other? She could be the publisher (according to the NY Review of Books) of what is now known as the Neapolitan Quartet. And perhaps not. The four books follow the lives of two …Read More

Dover Street Market

There may be some of you who are heading here for the Silly Season: the Royal Ascot, the Chelsea Flower Show, the opening of the Royal Academy Summer Show, private parties whatever the weather in the Physic Gardens…etc,. And you …Read More

German Gymnasium

This huge freestanding building across the street from the renewed St. Pancras station and in the heart of what was the King’s Cross Red Light District, is an architectural oddity. It was London’ s first purpose-built gym and hosted many …Read More

Park Chinois

For any of you who are venturing to London this spring for the Silly Season it might be worthwhile to book now for the ultimate Chinoiserie experience in Mayfair at Park Chinois. I say Chinoiserie because our Western expectations of …Read More

The Night Manager

“The Night Manager” is a brilliant take off on one of John Le Carré’s later books with a new twist. Le Carré, a former British agent himself, knows where the bodies are buried, and the bodies accumulate along the way. …Read More

Tannhäuser

Last night my husband Charles and I attended the latest Royal Opera House production of “Tannhäuser.” Now we all know the overture…Ta da da da da da da dadada da duh…..etc. As the curtain rose, we see seated on the stage …Read More

Shopping (Bulgari) and Dining (Quattro Passi) in Mayfair

I am reporting from London this week on the Grand opening of the new Bulgari Showroom on Bond Street. As London is a destination for shopping, it is always good when there is a brand new boutique of interest. London …Read More

Marguerite

This week in London an extraordinary French film “Marguerite” opened. It is the story of madness, of obsession, of opera, and of love. The heroine is Marguerite, a middle-aged wealthy Baronne married to an impoverished aristocrat. They live in a …Read More

Boris Godunov

The world of opera is unique. For some it is an acquired taste; to others something lengthy and loaded with absurdities. And then there are those of us who attend as if acolytes of a religion. Last night’s performance of …Read More

Hail, Caesar!

Joel and Ethan Coen’s tongue-in-cheek Hollywood Cavalcade of movies made mostly in the 1950s, is amusing in parts. There is the Esther Williams character, a tough broad played by Scarlett Johannson, who must either marry or adopt her own child, …Read More

West of Eden

If you haven’t picked up “West of Eden,” a story of Hollywood, written or rather accumulated by Jean Stein (daughter of Jules Stein, the former ophthalmologist who became Hollywood’s most powerful agent), you must. Hollywood the dream-maker was invented by …Read More

A Bigger Splash

If you have not seen “A Bigger Splash,” the movie – nothing to do with David Hockney painting – do so. It stars Ralph Fiennes as a pop star mogul, manager, etc., whose greatest creation was a David Bowie-like pop …Read More

Boris Godunov

I attended the dress rehearsal for “Boris Godunov” at the Royal Opera House – it rates alongside with watching paint dry. We are opera lovers and have supported a large number of tenors and baritones in their performances. And have …Read More