Painter at the Court of Milan is, unquestionably, the blockbuster of the season, nay year. This November the National Gallery will launch the most complete exhibition of Leonardo’s artwork ever (albeit without the Mona Lisa). Whether you are a modern day Renaissance man or a shameless philistine you’ve got to admit: the man could handle a brush. Don’t miss: The full-scale copy of Last Supper; the exquisite The Lady with an Ermine; Madonna Litta, all the way from St Petersburg.
9 November 2011 – 5 February 2012
Whether you admire Richter for his ability to work with a multitude of different artistic styles, or see it as evidence of an overly-technical approach, I defy you not to enjoy this exhibition. Few contemporary painters can rival Richter for his works’ sheer aesthetic pleasure. Adrian Searle claims his paintings “have secrets”. I don’t care. The best of Richter delivers an ethereal delicacy of touch and elegance and, sometimes, that is enough.
6 October 2011 – 8 January 2012
In 2008 it was David Tenant. In 2009 it was Jude Law. And now it is Michael Sheen’s turn to make the part of Shakespeare’s troubled Prince of Denmark his own. Hamlet, as one of history’s best and – so it follows – most oft-produced tragic plays is a challenge to render fresh. But with a director who is yet to make his Shakespeare-directorial debut, originality may well be on the bill. And with the Young Vic giving out £10 tickets to under-25s, what’s stopping you?
28 October 2011 – 21 January 2012
Tickets from £10
If the wintery weather has left your summer love frosty then what better way to warm the heartstrings than a Parisian love story. Richard Eyre has delivered an opulent and passionate production of this classic opera. The impressive cast is headed by Renée Fleming and supported by Antonio Pappano’s skilled conducting, who together do justice to Verdi’s emotive melodies. It may be the season’s safe bet, but it is nothing to be sniffed at (even if you have got fresher’s flu).
3 October – 25 January 2012
Tickets from £9
Western ballet meets Eastern martial arts in this latest production by The Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. The company doesn’t come to London often but when they do their intense skill and original approach earns them high critical claim. “A crash course in how to be stunning with the simplest of means,” wrote The Independent. Their latest production, White, which has been choreographed by internationally renowned Lin Hwai-min, uses light and shadow to render the body in its purest form. It is sure to be stunning.
9 – 12 November 2011
Tickets from £10
Images courtesy of The National Gallery, The Tate, Young Vic, The Royal Opera and Sadlers Wells