Alexandra Coghlan

Where to start with the music of Ethel Smyth

17 April 2021 9:00 am

I’m reminded of an old Irish joke. A tourist approaches a local for directions to Dublin. The local, after much…

Astonishing, relentlessly pleasurable rediscovery – tantric opera: Luigi Rossi's Il Palazzo incantato reviewed

6 March 2021 9:00 am

I don’t say this lightly, but after 20 years of opera-going, Luigi Rossi’s Il Palazzo incantato might just be the…

From ancient Greece to TikTok: a short history of the sea shanty

6 February 2021 9:00 am

From ancient Greece to TikTok: Alexandra Coghlan on the pulling power of shanties

Another cracking take on the opera film: Marquee TV’s Turn of the Screw reviewed

30 January 2021 9:00 am

I’m still waiting for the Royal Opera to step up. Nearly a year into the Covid crisis and what do…

How we became a nation of choirs and carollers

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Alexandra Coghlan on how we became a nation of choirs and carollers

A coherent evening of real opera: GSMD's Triple Bill reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Covid has been many things to the arts — most of them unprintable. A plague, a scourge, a disaster from…

Unobtrusively filmed, powerfully performed but still unsatisfying: LSO's Bluebeard reviewed

7 November 2020 9:00 am

The timing couldn’t be better. Just as the gates clang shut on another national lockdown, trapping us all indefinitely with…

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…