Michael Tanner

Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber at the piano in their 2016 Wigmore Hall recital. Photo: Amy T. Zielinski / Redferns

A Winterreise that included a mistake of genius

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of approach to performing Schubert’s Winterreise, though sometimes there’s doubt or dispute about which…

Isaiah Berlin: an extreme liberal, who was reluctant to think that people act purely maliciously

Do we really need to read Isaiah Berlin’s every last word?

9 February 2019 9:00 am

This is a fascinating example of a small genre, in which the author decides at an early stage in his…

Miraculous: Amanda Majeski as Katya Kabanova in Richard Jones’s Royal Opera production

One of the greatest operatic experiences of my life: Royal Opera’s Katya Kabanova reviewed

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Janacek’s upsetting opera Katya Kabanova, which hasn’t been seen in the UK for some time, turned up in two different…

Letter signed by Wagner from an exhibition at the Saxon State and University Library in Dresden in 2013

As a writer, Richard Wagner was both sublime – and unreadable

22 September 2018 9:00 am

No one any longer denies the immense significance of Wagner’s musical-dramatic achievement, even if they find it repellent. But his…

Wilhelm Furtwängler in the 1920s. His conduct, rather than his conducting, is what obsesses Roger Allen

The new biography of Wilhelm Furtwängler is a real labour of loathing

30 June 2018 9:00 am

The titans of the podium, a late 19th- and 20th-century phenomenon, a species now extinct, have on the whole been…

A grim and impoverished place: Royal Opera’s new Lohengrin

Longborough continues to be a refuge for British Wagnerians fleeing idiotic productions

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Longborough Festival Opera, refuge for British Wagnerians fleeing unidiomatic musical performances and idiotically irrelevant and insulting productions, has rounded off…

Garsington makes as good a case as you can for Strauss’s frothy Capriccio

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Is there an end [to this opera] that is not trivial?’ asks the Countess in her final bars of Richard…

Much is routine – and a fair amount is worse: Glyndebourne’s Madama Butterfly reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

There is no such thing as a moderately good performance of Madama Butterfly, or, to be more precise, it’s not…

An unmitigated triumph: Salome at Opera North reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Salome is my favourite opera by Richard Strauss, the only one where there is no danger, at any point, of…

Verdi would have been disarmed: Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth

At last, a great achievement at the Royal Opera: Macbeth reviewed

31 March 2018 9:00 am

At last, a great time at the Royal Opera: a magnificent performance, in every way, of Verdi’s Macbeth, curiously but…

ENO’s La traviata was so comprehensive a flop that it is painful to go into detail

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Handel’s Rinaldo has not been highly regarded even by his most ardent admirers. I have never understood why — even…

A short history of French musical decadence

10 March 2018 9:00 am

My two attempts to see Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at the Guildhall School were frustrated by the weather. Forced back…

A step too far: the new production of Carmen at the Royal Opera House

A colossal bore: Royal Opera’s Carmen reviewed

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The new production of Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Opera has received mixed reviews. It shouldn’t have done. They should…

Celebrating Carter was one of the most energising musical occasions in years

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Das Rheingold at the Royal Festival Hall was, all told, a disappointment, but it might not have been had there…

Royal Opera’s Tosca is a sloppy affair

27 January 2018 9:00 am

One of the Royal Opera’s greatest virtues is the care it takes with its revivals, even those that are virtually…

A recording that makes you realise Les Troyens is one of the greatest operatic masterpieces

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Grade: A-   Berlioz’s Les Troyens, one of the greatest operatic masterpieces, manages to be neglected even if it is…

Musically superb but there isn’t a moment where one feels for anyone: Semiramide reviewed

25 November 2017 9:00 am

The late arch-Rossinian Philip Gossett regarded Semiramide as a neoclassical work, vaguely and alarmingly suggesting to me a musical equivalent…

Excellent but there’s too much larking about: ENO’s Rodelinda reviewed

4 November 2017 9:00 am

ENO has revived Richard Jones’s production of Handel’s Rodelinda. It was warmly greeted on its first outing in 2014, though…

Small wonders

23 September 2017 9:00 am

It has been a reasonably good week for peripatetic opera-loving female-underwear fetishists. In La bohème at Covent Garden Musetta slipped…

Maria Callas as Anna Bolena

Ave, Maria

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Anyone who thinks that an artist’s life is irrelevant to their artistic achievement, and for that matter anyone who thinks…

DIY Bohème

16 September 2017 9:00 am

The Royal Opera’s one production that, it has always confidently been claimed, need never be replaced has been replaced. John…

Bowled over by Bruckner

9 September 2017 9:00 am

The two Proms concerts given on consecutive evenings by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra were well planned: a short opening work,…

Power of two: Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim play a duet at this year’s Lucerne Festival

Mistaken identity

26 August 2017 9:00 am

This year’s Lucerne Festival is given its identity by having as its theme ‘Identity’. Since the word doesn’t mean anything,…

The maestro could hear if a single player was doing something wrong, even in the most noisy tutti

The morality of conducting

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Now he is the greatest figure for me, in the world. [Toscanini is] the last proud, noble, unbending representative (with…

The conducting is as potent as Furtwängler’s: Opera North’s Ring reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

When I interviewed Richard Farnes in Leeds six years ago about Opera North’s project of performing the complete Ring, he…