Alexandra Coghlan

I don’t know when I’ve been more moved: Ora Singers at Tate Modern reviewed

3 October 2020 9:00 am

It’s the breath I miss most. The moment when a shuffling group of men and women in scruffy concert blacks…

If we stop idolising Beethoven we might understand him better

18 July 2020 9:00 am

Ludwig von Beethoven belongs among those men whom not only Vienna and Germany, but Europe and our entire age revere.…

After weeks of silence, Royal Opera reopened with a whimper

20 June 2020 9:00 am

It was the fourth time, or maybe the fifth, that I found myself reaching for the tissues that I began…

The best recordings of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges

6 June 2020 9:00 am

‘I don’t want to do my work. I want to go for a walk. I want to eat all the…

No one understood the ennui of lockdown better than Louis XIV and his courtiers

9 May 2020 9:00 am

A few years ago I interviewed an eminent baroque conductor. Prickly and professorial, tired after a day of rehearsals, he…

Why we love requiems

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Alexandra Coghlan on the enduring appeal of requiems

The best recordings of my favourite Passion

11 April 2020 9:00 am

In the autumn of 1632, a man called Kaspar Schisler returned home to the small Bavarian town of Oberammergau. He…

The musical vaccination we all need against the bleak times ahead: ETO’s Cosi fan tutte reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Anyone familiar with Joe Hill-Gibbins’s work will brace instinctively when the curtain goes up on his new Figaro. He’s the…

A lost opera from the most powerful musician you’ve never heard of: La ville morte reviewed

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Who was the most influential figure in 20th-century classical music? Stravinsky? Pierre Boulez? What about Bernstein or Britten? John Cage…

One hell of a concert: Opera North’s Bluebeard’s Castle reviewed

14 December 2019 9:00 am

Freud knew something about fear. Not the sudden shock of terror, but the creeping, sickening, slow-burn horror of the uncanny.…

Handsome and revivable but I wasn’t moved: Royal Opera’s Death in Venice reviewed

30 November 2019 9:00 am

Premièred within two years of each other, Luchino Visconti’s film and Benjamin Britten’s opera Death in Venice both take Thomas…

Joyce DiDonato seduces you within the first 10 minutes: Royal Opera’s Agrippina reviewed

5 October 2019 9:00 am

‘Laws bow down before the desire to rule…’ Centuries before ‘proroguing’ had entered British breakfast-table vocabulary there was Handel’s Agrippina,…

More Grace Kelly than Grace Jones: Welsh National Opera’s Carmen reviewed

28 September 2019 9:00 am

How do you take your Carmen? Sun-drenched exotic fantasy with a side order of castanets, or cool and gritty, sour…

Why are so many operas by women adaptations of films by men?

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Opera’s line of corpses — bloodied, battered, dumped in a bag — is a long one. Now it can add…

West Side Story’s flick-knife-to-the-guts thrill never landed its final blow

17 August 2019 9:00 am

It was as though Damien Hirst had confessed a secret passion for Victorian watercolours, or Lars von Trier had admitted…

Leo Jemison (Miles), Elen Willmer (Flora) and Sophie Bevan (Governess) in The Turn of the Screw at Garsington Opera

Deft, elegant and genuinely chilling: Garsington’s Turn of the Screw reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Think of the children in opera. Not knowing sopranos and mezzos, pigtailed and pinafored or tightly trousered-up to look child-like,…

Testosterone and passion: Royal Opera’s Marriage of Figaro reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Another turn around the block for David McVicar’s handsome 1830s Figaro at the Royal Opera — the sixth since the…

Saved by the chorus

29 June 2019 9:00 am

We’ve cried wolf with Handel. Ever since the modern trend began for staging the composer’s oratorios we’ve hailed each one…

Where was the sex? Opera Holland Park’s Manon Lescaut reviewed

15 June 2019 9:00 am

Where was the desire, the frisson, the flicker of attraction? Hell, where was the sex? I ask because a week…

Musical shapeshifters: I Faglioni performing Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible at Milton Court Concert Hall Credit: Mark Allan/Barbican

The Holy Grail of concert-going: I Fagiolini deliver serious musicianship that never takes itself too seriously

11 May 2019 9:00 am

We’ve all read the article. It does the rounds with the dispiriting regularity of an unwanted dish on a sushi…

Individual performers make their mark: Jacques Imbrailo as Billy Budd and Alasdair Elliott as Squeak

An abdication of interpretative responsibility: Royal Opera’s Billy Budd reviewed

4 May 2019 9:00 am

The climactic central scene of Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd ends unexpectedly. The naval court has reached a verdict of death,…

ENO’s Jack the Ripper needs to decide if it wants to be a gore-fest or social history

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Is it possible to write a feminist opera about Jack the Ripper? Composer Iain Bell thinks it is, and his…

Deft humour and daft imagery: WNO’s Magic Flute reviewed

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Operas are like buses. Both are filled with pensioners and take ages to get anywhere, but more importantly they always…

Philipp Fürhofer's handsome and often ingenious designs for the Royal Opera's overcomplicated new production of The Queen of Spades. Photo: ROH 2018 / Catherine Ashmore

Never quite pivots from thesis to drama: Royal Opera’s Queen of Spades reviewed

19 January 2019 9:00 am

We increasingly accept the collision between life and art. Whether we’re puzzling over the real identity of Elena Ferrante, choosing…

King’s College, Cambridge choir rehearse A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

Divulging the secret of the famous ‘King’s sound’?

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Earlier this year The Spectator published an article in celebration of Evensong — the nightly sung service of the Anglican…