Tuesday, 8 January 2013

High definition performance

It was Kenneth Tynan who coined the phrase "high definition performance". Tonight's Film Society film, last night's Royal Opera live stream and Sunday's Something Understood all come under this useful heading.

The Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won plaudits at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival for A separation: I had meant to catch it when it first came out, but failed. It was well worth waiting, though, for its superb screenplay and mesmerising acting. Only at the end, when music plays, do you realise there has been none throughout.

Music aplenty though from the Royal Opera House throughout yesterday, during the 10-hour live stream of backstage activity, available through theguardian.co.uk/music and thespace.org. We only watched a little until the evening, when we were rivetted by the relay of the whole of Act 3 of Die Walküre.

And Mark Tully's Something Understood is always worth listening to, but this week on "Dignity" he was on specially good form, particularly with his main interviewee, an eloquent Buddhist.

Tynan wouldn't have marked our High Street accordionist with "HDP", but I have recently been enjoying one particular tune he keeps playing. I don't know what it's called - we correspond in smiles, as he's from Hungary and speaks no English.

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