Review: ‘The Master & Margarita’

Review of a stage adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘Master & Margarita’

The Oxford Culture Review

Adapting Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margaritafor the stage is, by any account, an ambitious undertaking. The novel is notorious for the multiplicity of interpretations it allows, simultaneously presenting satire, socio-political critique, philosophical allegory, and theological musing. Beyond this, Bulgakov’s prose is stylistically mercurial as he jumps between 1930s Moscow and Pontius Pilate’s Jerusalem, incorporating elements of magical realism along the way. Despite these obstacles, Magnolia Productions’interpretation is the latest in a whole host of dramatic adaptations, from Edward Kemp’s 2004 stage rendition to the BBC’s radio play broadcast earlier this year. It seems that there is something irresistible about the dramatic challenge of staging Bulgakov’s book.

Magnolia Productions opted for an outdoor setting, in the gardens of St John’s College. In many ways, this was an inspired choice —the uplit trees created fantastical shapes and shadows across the moonlit lawns (reminding me of the shadow puppets…

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Photo portrait of Hämeenlinna

This isn't officially a research post. Instead I'm sharing photos I took while staying in Sibelius's birth town, Hämeenlinna, for his 150th birthday celebrations.

Celebrating Sibelius’s birthday

2015 is a big year for Sibelius scholars - it's the composer's 150th birthday. Inevitably, this anniversary has birthed many Sibelius symphony cycles and increased exposure at the Proms, alongside the 6th international Jean Sibelius Conference in his birth-town, Hämeenlinna. A longer blog post will follow on the conference and attendant Sibelius celebrations, but for now a brief... Continue Reading →

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