Alexandra Coghlan

Wild-eyed mezzo Annunziata Vestri as mad Margherita in ‘Guglielmo Ratcliff’

Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff deserves to become a classic

29 October 2015 9:00 am

It’s Halloween, and right on lightning-flash cue enters an operatic ghost story exhumed from the grave of long-since-buried works. You…

I doubt Goethe intended Werther's sorrows to be as unremitting as this

24 October 2015 9:00 am

There are some things the French do better than everyone else. Cheese, military defeats and extra-marital affairs are a given,…

I doubt Goethe intended Werther’s sorrows to be as unremitting as this

22 October 2015 2:00 pm

There are some things the French do better than everyone else. Cheese, military defeats and extra-marital affairs are a given,…

I doubt Goethe intended Werther’s sorrows to be as unremitting as this

22 October 2015 2:00 pm

There are some things the French do better than everyone else. Cheese, military defeats and extra-marital affairs are a given,…

Detail of the bridge of the kora, a harp made from calabash and cow hide, with strings aligned in a perpendicular plane

The polyphonous Babel of global music

17 October 2015 8:00 am

‘Following custom, when the Siamese conquered the Khmer they carried off much of the population, including most of their musicians,…

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

26 September 2015 8:00 am

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

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

Fossilised Figaro

24 September 2015 1:00 pm

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

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

Fossilised Figaro

24 September 2015 1:00 pm

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

Christopher Turner as Artemidoro, the romantic lead transformed into a raving hippy in Trofonio’s ‘cave’

Don’t listen to Amadeus - this Salieri opera is better than Mozart

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Magical transformations are a commonplace of opera. We see our heroes turned into animals, trees, statues; witness wild beasts turned…

When is a rape not a rape? Fiona Shaw's Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne reviewed

11 July 2015 9:00 am

When is a rape not a rape? It’s an unsettling question — far more so than anything offered up by…

The gang rape was the least offensive thing about Royal Opera's new William Tell

4 July 2015 9:00 am

There’s no such thing as a tasteful rape scene — or there certainly shouldn’t be. It’s an act of grossest…

Béla Bartók recording folk songs with villagers in Hungary, 1907

Bartók would have made history even if he’d never composed a note

6 June 2015 9:00 am

‘All my life, always and in every way, I shall have one objective: the good of Hungary and the Hungarian…

Do you see me laughing? Mike Leigh’s Pirates of Penzance at the ENO reviewed

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Forget the pollsters and political pundits — English National Opera called it first and called it Right when it programmed…

ENO's Between Worlds at the Barbican reviewed: too respectful

18 April 2015 9:00 am

This week, some 200 years since Goya’s ‘The Disasters of War’, almost 80 years after Picasso’s ‘Guernica’, and over 50…

Why we should revel in the empty virtuosity of Handel's pasticcios

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Before the jukebox musical, back when Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys and Viva Forever! were still dollar-shaped glints in an as-yet-unborn…

ENO's Indian Queen reviewed: Peter Sellars's bold new production needs editing

7 March 2015 9:00 am

When is an opera not an opera? How much can you strip and peel away, or extend and graft on…

Royal Opera’s Orfeo, Roundhouse: shouts its agenda so loudly the music struggles to be heard

17 January 2015 9:00 am

What a week to stage an opera about art’s power to challenge institutional authority, oppression — even death itself. Orfeo’s…

This Winter Journey goes far beyond expectation

10 January 2015 9:00 am

You can tell a lot about a book from its bibliography. It’s the non-fiction equivalent of skipping to the final…

Too worthy? Peter Sellars’s staging of John Adams’s ‘Gospel’

ENO’s Gospel According to the Other Mary: great music weighed down by a worthy staging

29 November 2014 9:00 am

Terrorism; East-West diplomacy; nuclear war: John Adams’s operas have poured music into the faultlines of 21st-century global politics, and the…

Glyndebourne’s Turn of the Screw: horrors of the most innocent and creepy kind

25 October 2014 9:00 am

We all know that ‘They fuck you up your mum and dad’, but nowhere is this more reliably (and violently)…