From top left: Lucian Freud, Rudolf Bing, Stefan Zweig, Walter Gropius, Rudolf Laban, Max Born, Kurt Schwitters, Friedrich Hayek, Fritz Busch, Frank Auerbach, Emeric Pressburger, Oskar Kokoschka

German refugees transformed British cultural life - but at a price

German-speaking refugees dragged British culture into the 20th century. But that didn’t go down well in Stepney or Stevenage, says William Cook

Michael Fassbender: animal magnetism but no clue as to what oils Macbeth’s cogs

Horridly magnificent - but real problems occur when anyone opens their mouth: Macbeth reviewed

Who goes to big-screen Shakespeare? Not theatre-goers much, and with reason. Apart from the odd corker by Kurosawa, arguably Olivier…

'A glittering concentrate of fury in her dark eyes': Patricia Racette as Katerina Ismailova in 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk'

Thank god for bored wives: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the ENO reviewed

‘Kiss me, Sergei! Kiss me hard! Kiss me until the icons fall and split!’ sings Katerina Ismailova, adulterous antiheroine of…

Serious artistry: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. © Sascha Vaughan

The best ballerinas in Britain at the moment are hairy and male

There was blood on the walls and floor at the birth of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet in 1965. The…

‘I want to break free-eee!’: Madeleine Worrall as Jane, the 19th century’s Freddie Mercury, in ‘Jane Eyre’ at the Lyttelton

Half-brilliant: Mr Foote’s Other Leg at Hampstead Theatre reviewed

Samuel Foote (1720–77) was a star of the 18th-century stage who avoided the censors by extemporising his performances. Today we’d…

Margit Carstensen as Petra, downing gin and grovelling on her deep-pile carpet, in ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s films verge on the incomprehensible — but that doesn’t stop him being a genius

London’s Goethe-Institut has a two-month season of films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (whose 70th anniversary it’s celebrating), but only five…

‘Dead Rabbit’, 1962, by Dennis Creffield

On the frontiers of figuration, abstraction and total immateriality

The artist, according to Walter Sickert, ‘is he who can take a piece of flint and wring out of it…

Shaun Ryder in Music for Misfits

James Delingpole discovers the fons et origo of indie music

I really hadn’t meant to write a postscript to last week’s column on my dark Supertramp past. But then along…

John Peel in the studio (photo: Getty)

Why we should embrace being average

Maybe what we love about radio is the way that most of its programming allows us the luxury of staying…

‘Early Morning at the Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, India’, 1989, by Don McCullin

Don McCullin interview: ‘I take more than I bring. That’s not a role I’m proud of’

Jenny McCartney talks to the celebrated photojournalist about war, guilt and Aylan

Yuri Gagarin in the cabin of Vostok, the spacecraft in which he made the first human journey to outer space on 12 April, 1961

When technology was art: Cosmonauts at the Science Museum reviewed

‘The dominant narrative of space,’ I was told, in that strange language curators employ, ‘is America.’ Quite so. Kennedy stared…

‘Night in Marrakesh’, 1968, by Brion Gysin

Cut-ups, hallucinations and Hermann Goering: the extraordinary life of Brion Gysin

Among my more bohemian friends in 1980s London, Brion Gysin was a name spoken with a certain awe. He was…

Detail from Gundestrup cauldron, 100 BC–AD 1

The British Museum's Celtic masterpieces aren't Celtic - but they are fabulous

‘Celtic’ is a word heavily charged with meanings. It refers, among other phenomena, to a football club, a group of…

Playing it cool: Nicole Kidman as Rosalind Franklin

Nicole Kidman is upstaged by everyone - even the set: Photograph 51 at the Noel Coward reviewed

Michael Grandage’s latest show is about an old snap. Geneticists regard the X-ray of the hydrated ‘B’ form of DNA…

Erwin Schrott as Figaro and Anita Hartig as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro

McVicar’s Figaro looks increasingly fossilised. Time for the Royal Opera to ditch it

Is there a more extraordinary, more heart-stilling moment in all opera than the finale of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro?…

Andrew Garfield in 99 Homes

It will tear your heart out: 99 Homes reviewed

99 Homes is an American drama about house repossession. Bummer, you might think, but here is what you don’t yet…

Middle-England Gothic: Anna Maxwell-Martin as Merrily Watkins in Midwinter of the Spirit

ITV’s Midwinter of the Spirit is a satisfying example of Middle-England Gothic

For years, Ian Fleming was famously self-deprecating about the James Bond books. (‘I have a rule of not looking back,’…

Four New York Times Journalists Missing In Libya

How The Archers tried to derail the launch of ITV

Two significant anniversaries, each very different but both reflecting the BBC’s mission and the reasons for its continued success. From…

Still from the documentary ‘Palio’: a medieval rite at once nonsensical and puerile, and yet profoundly alive and meaningful

Palio exposes the bribery and violence that lies at the heart of Siena’s lawless ritual

Siena’s Palio is steeped in violence, bribery and corruption. But it matters to its people more than anything, says Jasper Rees

Clara Schumann

There's a good reason why there are no great female composers

Last week a 17-year-old girl forced the Edexcel exam board to change its A-level music syllabus to include the work…

Orphee et Eurydice_ Stage Rehearsal_ROH;Director; John Fulljames,Choreography; Hofesh Shechter,Performers,Conductor; John Eliot Gardiner,Orphee; Juan Diego Florez,Eurydice; Lucy Crowe,Amour; Amanda Forsythe,Dancers; Hofesh Shechter Company, Chor

As good a treatment of a Bellini opera as we are likely to see: WNO's I puritani reviewed

Bellini belongs to that category of not-quite-great operatic composers whose works are also very difficult to perform adequately, and don’t…

The Globe's Oresteia

The Globe's Oresteia lets Aeschylus speak - the Almeida's muzzles him

To examine an ancient text requires an understanding of the ancient imagination. The Oresteia is set in a primitive world…

‘Socialist realism and pop art in the battlefield’, 1969, by Equipo Cronica

The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern - our critic goes zzzzz

The conventional history of modern art was written on the busy Paris-New York axis, as if nowhere else existed. For…

The ascent of man: Michael Kelly as Jon Krakauer

All about the climb (and little else): Everest reviewed

‘Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side,’ sang Miley Cyrus. ‘It’s the climb.’ She’s not usually a musician to…

Lest we forget, Sadler Wells

War, socialist tyranny and the oppression of the handicapped - welcome to the new dance season

If there’s one thing scarcer than hen’s teeth in serious choreography nowadays, it’s a light heart. When was the last…