ROYAL BANK £5 NIGHTS More than just a bargain O...

1. As a green-gilled classical mUSlC virgin. this Cheap and cheerful bolt hole

into the stiff collared. world of classical mUSic. I hoped this would be an ideal

opportunity to broaden my musical horizons. It was.

2. The Leopold String Trio were providing the setinds. some pretty jaunty but

engaging Mozart on viola. violin and cello.

3. The music was gentle and lullabyish in places dangerously comfortable at

a late night reCital. Mozart is. even by my standards. pretty poppy a Paul

McCartney for the 17008 if you will.

4. The Usher Hall is so distractingly beautiful that it's near impossible to not

be impressed by your surroundings.

5. Preconct-zptions are confounded - no penguin suits - it's all pretty casual

but you have to laugh when everyone has a wee c0ugh between

movements so as not to splutter when the music's playing. Very polite here.

no chucking yOur half—drunk pint towards the stage here. Worth taking a

chance on and possibly being completely blown away. iMark Robertsoni Usher Hall, 473 2000, until 37 Aug. 70.30pm,


reforges the bits of his father's sword. which was rather speCial as it had been made by Wotan. head of all the gods. He then manages to kill a giant. takes a few tips from a

woodbird and eventually

finds and falls for the wonderful Brunnhilde. who has spent most of the time since last year on top of a rock SLi’l’l‘Otl'lthl by fire. Complicated stuff. but worth DOTSC‘JOFIIIQ with. especially with Elizabeth Byrne returning to sing Bi‘unnhilde and Graham Sanders in the title role. It's all been fabLiIOus so far and the complete Ring .5; '.'.'ell on course for next year. 'Caroi Main» I Festival Thearre. .173 2000. 2:3. 28 and 37 Aug, -i’..’)’0;_)lr‘. 5‘5—5‘57. TRIBU I E


The wonder of her 0..

Th.s is not the greatest Elves .lYll)(}lES()l‘.£tI()l' you

are ever going to see. this is not even the greatest female EIVIS impersonator yOu are ever going to see. yet there is something immensely simple and touching abetit this late night cabaret act.

The premise is s‘iiiiple. a short yOung lady comes in dressed as (58 Special Elvis sings some songs to backing tapes. has two more ifairlyi impressive costume changes. walks round kisses a few people and plays some footage of the King on a video i_)rojector. her voice is quite weak on the earlier tunes but gains a thicker resonance with the Vegas stuff i‘Way Down' and “Suspicious Minds' are done partici.iiarly welli. Nothing else happens

for - F 'i see non-festival magazine

but you still come Out smiling. Thank you Ma'am. iPaul Dalei

I Club WEST {a} Crowne Plaza. 220 0000. until 24 Aug. 70.30pm. 577.50 /£.‘o‘/.


Beat this for variety

Visitors to Edinburgh not familiar with the particular joys of the Bongo Club owe it to themselves to check out their eclectic selection at least once during their Vis‘it. For the festival period only. they're taking advantage of late licensing hours to put together all-night )xtravagan/as that features a wealth of attractions.

So far. we've been treated to comedians. recitals and even puppetry. but it's as a live venue that the Bongo really excels. Local folk funk punk blues heroes Mystery



Canadian multi-tasker tackles Stravinsky

Francois Girard is a renaissance man - he even looks as if he might have stepped out of an Italian painting of the period. Now 39 and drop-dead handsome, he is probably best known for his art-house movies, The Red Violin - starring Greta Scacchi, Jason Flemying and Samuel L Jackson - and Thirty- Two Short Films 3

About Glenn Gould.

He also made the Italian rock concert film, Peter Gabriel’s Secret World, and has done a TV documentary about Yo Yo Ma, as well as creating rock videos, film and TV commercials, and art installations.

The multiple award-winning, Quebec-born director’s profile rose dramatically in this country when he brought his stunning stage version of the one-man play Novecento the first play he had ever directed to the Edinburgh International Festival last year. It won plaudits and a coveted Herald Angel award for the man who has already gained more than 80 prizes for his work.

Now he’s back, making his debut as an opera director. His Canadian Opera Company (COC) version of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, with Symphony of Psalms, has already won a raft of awards - eight prestigious Dora Theater Awards in Canada as well as ecstatic reviews internationally.

We meet in Montreal, where the French- Canadian is based, although pinning him down wasn’t easy. He’s constantly on the move and leaves soon for China where he is about to make a film about World War II. He’s just back from New York where he has been trying to claw funding back for his projected movie version of Brian Moore’s novel, The Magician’s Wife.

Starring Kate Winslet, Geoffrey Rush and Dominic West, the film was four months into

pre-production when the finance was pulled in the wake of 11 September. It’s a love story with a strong Muslim element to the plot. ‘Nobody was interested after the terrorist attacks,’ he says. ‘A lot of projects went to the wall. Personally, I think The Magician ’3 Wife couldn’t be more relevant. Fortunately, both Kate and Geoffrey agree with me and are still on board.’

He has co-written the script with Melissa Mathieson, Steven Spielberg’s former partner and collaborator, who also wrote the screenplay for ET, and is determined to get the film made. ‘All art has to be about now and artists have a duty to create work that makes audiences think,’ he says.

‘Oedipus Rex may be an ancient Greek story, but it’s very timely. Stravinsky’s opera, with a wonderful libretto by Jean Cocteau, begins with a city dying of a plague. It is decimating the population just like AIDS in Africa and the rest of the Third World. It is terrifying that in the 21 st century a terrible disease should still be creating such devastation and be taking such a cruel toll on human life.’

His striking production of the opera is preceded by Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. These haunting prayers for the dead form a powerful prologue to the work. Slowly, the stage fills with a snowstorm of names - the nameless who have died of the scourge of AIDS in recent years.

Although the disease was never out of the headlines when it hit the arts community, says Girard, he believes passionately that it’s important for us to note that so far, 14m children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and that by 2020 we should expect 70m deaths if efforts are not made to stem the disease. ‘In Africa, AIDS is the main cause of death and I don’t think we should ever forget that shocking statistic,’ he says. (Jackie McGlone) I .l'>.'i=."‘; 4/19 2000. 89—5" Aug. (:‘IEI‘I‘T.