Alexandra Coghlan

Sarah Tynan's mesmerising Lucia in ENO's Lucia di Lammermoor. Photo: John Snelling

Real psychological horror and a mesmerising heroine: ENO’s Lucia di Lammermoor reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

How do you solve a problem like Lucia? Murder, madness, abuse, possibly even incest, all set to a soundtrack of…

English Touring Opera's handsome production of Dido and Aeneas. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

In praise of the English Touring Opera — a minor miracle of the arts world

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Wolverhampton; Workington; Blackburn; Sheffield; Lancaster; Hackney. Every year English Touring Opera does what our national opera company doesn’t: packs up…

A woman-child of dangerous assurance: Allison Cook as Salome in Adena Jacobs’s new production for English National Opera. [Catherine Ashmore]

A fascinating failure, but a failure nonetheless: ENO’s Salome reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Yes, Oscar Wilde never wrote it. No, Strauss didn’t intend it. In fact, the composer famously demanded the Dance of…

Opera North’s Tosca will leave you quivering

29 September 2018 9:00 am

At the end of Act Two of Tosca there are some 30 bars of orchestral music — accompaniment to a…

Chorus of approval: the ENO chorus gives it the full Broadway, triple threats to a man, in Benjamin Britten’s Paul Bunyan (Photo: Genevieve Girling)

Often baffling but ultimately entertaining: Britten’s Paul Bunyan reviewed

15 September 2018 9:00 am

‘I feel I have learned lots about what not to write for the theatre…’ There’s a prevailing idea that the…

Currentzis’s Beethoven asked us to listen with our bodies rather than our minds

4 August 2018 9:00 am

Some conductors conduct from the fingers — think of Gergiev’s convulsive gestures, flickering up and down the keyboard of an…

What a wasted opportunity: Jonas Kaufmann’s Four Last Songs reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

No wonder we have a problem with classical music in this country. The week started in celebration. The stats are…

A delicious operatic ragout of horror: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk reviewed

21 April 2018 9:00 am

There is famously no door into the late-night diner of Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’. Its three silent patrons are trapped behind…

What’s in a name

17 March 2018 9:00 am

Janacek is the master of the operatic title. Think of the slippery, sleight-of-hand emphasis of Jenufa in its original Czech…

Ball breaker: Opera North’s production of Un ballo in maschera

Yet another dud Un ballo in maschera: Opera North’s new production reviewed

10 February 2018 9:00 am

A chaste act of adultery and a silent conversation: these are the encounters at the heart of Un ballo in…

Nick Coleman hears better with half an ear than the rest of us do with two

3 February 2018 9:00 am

If you’ve ever had a text or email thread spiral wildly and unexpectedly out of control or clocked a couple…

Partying like it’s 1899: two lieder recitals reviewed

4 November 2017 9:00 am

If a symphony is, as Mahler famously put it, ‘like the world’, then songs and lieder are like seeing that…

Richard Strauss (image: Getty)

Salon Strauss

21 October 2017 9:00 am

An opera without singers, a Strauss orchestra of just 16, and an early music ensemble playing Mahler: welcome to the…

Soap opera

14 October 2017 9:00 am

Previously on Giulio Cesare… English Touring Opera’s new season caters cannily to the box-set generation by chopping Handel’s Egyptian power-and-politics…

Vice and virtue

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

‘Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven?’ screams the publicity for The Judas Passion, transforming a Biblical drama into a…

Mozart’s mischievous muse

2 September 2017 9:00 am

If you were to compare Mozart to a bird it wouldn’t be the starling. Possibly the wood thrush or nightingale,…

Hellbound: Christopher Maltman in Ivan Fischer’s new Don Giovanni for Edinburgh

Grimes triumphant

17 August 2017 1:00 pm

‘Peter Grimes!’ Ranked high above us in the Usher Hall — a mob smelling blood, hot for the kill —…

Time to end authenticity

12 August 2017 9:00 am

They say the first step towards recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So I’m staging an intervention and…

Risk assessment

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Someone at the Buxton International Festival had a wry smile on their face when programming this year’s trio of operas.…

Music matters

3 June 2017 9:00 am

The ancient Greeks had a word for it —katabasis, descending into the depths, to the underworld itself, in search of…

The Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis) in song flight, Sussex, April 2012

Soaring and singing

20 May 2017 9:00 am

Whether it’s Coleridge’s nightingale or Petrarch’s, Ted Hughes’s wren or Shelley’s skylark, Helen Macdonald’s hawk or Max Porter’s crow, literature…

Bingeing on Bach

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Coined in 1944, ‘completism’ is a modern term for a modern-day obsession. What began as a phenomenon of possession —…

Passion indeed

22 April 2017 9:00 am

‘The dripping blood our only drink/ The bloody flesh our only food…/ Again, in spite of that, we call this…

The lost Stradivarius

8 April 2017 9:00 am

Min Kym is a violinist, but if you Google her name you won’t find sound-clips or concert reviews, touring schedules…

Death becomes her

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Opera is littered with the bodies of abandoned women. Step over Dido and Gilda, and you’ll still stumble into Donna…