Richard Bratby

Portrait of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic – Britain's oldest and ballsiest orchestra

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Richard Bratby on Britain’s oldest and ballsiest orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which has taken on everyone from gang leaders to Derek Hatton

The musical event of the year: Wigmore Hall BBC Radio 3 Special Broadcasts reviewed

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Remember when 2020 was going to be Beethoven year? There were going to be cycles and festivals, recordings and reappraisals;…

I'm still not wholly convinced by Kirill Petrenko: Berlin Phil's Digital Concert Hall reviewed

30 May 2020 9:00 am

At the start of Elgar’s Second Symphony the full orchestra hovers, poised. It pulls back; and then, like a dam…

Drunk singers, Ravel on film and prime Viennese operetta: the addictive joys of classical YouTube

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The full addictive potential of classical YouTube needs to be experienced to be understood. And let’s be honest, there are…

It costs a lot of money to look this cheap: Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home Gala reviewed

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Desperate times call for desperate measures. With the world’s opera houses currently dark, the New York Metropolitan Opera tackled the…

From Middlemarch to Mickey Mouse: a short history of The Spectator’s books and arts pages

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

The Spectator arts and books pages have spent 10,000 issues identifying the dominant cultural phenomena of the day and being difficult about them, says Richard Bratby

The marvel of Mozart’s letters

18 April 2020 9:00 am

It’s 1771, you’re in Milan, and your 14-year-old genius son has just premièred his new opera. How do you reward…

The joy of Haydn's string quartets – here are the best recordings

4 April 2020 9:00 am

As Joseph Haydn was getting out of bed on the morning of 10 May 1809, a cannonball landed in his…

Bleak humour, resourcefulness and wit: Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Quarantine Soirées reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

There’s a certain merit in bluntness. ‘Quarantine Soirées’ was what the Budapest Festival Orchestra called its response to the crisis,…

Bigamists, lunatics and adventurers: the raucous world of 19th century British music

21 March 2020 9:00 am

The world of 19th-century British music was raucous, but are there any masterpieces waiting to be rediscovered? wonders Richard Bratby

If your instinct is to undermine Beethoven, you’re directing the wrong opera: Fidelio reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

‘People may say I can’t sing,’ said the soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, ‘but no one can ever say I didn’t…

Eurotrash Verdi: ENO’s Luisa Miller reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Verdi’s Luisa Miller is set in the Tyrol in the early 17th century, and for some opera directors that’s a…

Weill's Broadway opera is made for telly: Opera North's Street Scene reviewed

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

It’s a sweltering night in Manhattan, circa 1947, and on the doorstep of a brownstone tenement three women are waiting…

Are we going to have to start taking Calixto Bieito seriously? ENO’s Carmen reviewed

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Calixto Bieito’s Carmen: three words to make an opera critic’s heart leap. Until quite recently, Bieito was the operatic provocateur…

Inspired programming and a proper celebration: Barbican's Beethoven Weekender reviewed

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

Beethoven wears a feather boa and pink shades. He wrangles an electric guitar. A red lightning flash streaks across that…

The joy of Radio 3’s Building a Library

1 February 2020 9:00 am

So, you’ve fallen in love with a piece of classical music and you want to buy a recording. The problems…

The audience were in tears: Christian Gerhaher/Gerold Huber at the Wigmore Hall reviewed

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

‘Popular’ classical music is a relative term. Show me someone who thinks Beethoven is surefire box office, and I’ll show…

Warmth, energy and gripping momentum: Stephen Hough’s Wigmore Hall residency reviewed

18 January 2020 9:00 am

In the summer of 1878 Johannes Brahms finally succeeded in growing a beard. It was his third attempt. ‘Prepare your…

Beer, sweat and jockstraps: the real history of the CBSO

21 December 2019 9:00 am

In childhood, the theme tune to The Box of Delights was the sound of Christmas. The melody was ‘The First…

Don’t tell me model railways aren’t art. My little engine is a thing of spirit and beauty

14 December 2019 9:00 am

It’s a summer day at Llangenydd station, and the afternoon train is already late, not that anyone seems to mind.…

Sadistic and repellent and thrilling: Mascagni’s Iris reviewed

7 December 2019 9:00 am

If you’ve ever felt that poor Madama Butterfly had a bit of a raw deal, then you really, really don’t…

Meet the unrivalled Sun King of early music, William Christie

23 November 2019 9:00 am

It’s morning in the garden of William Christie, and he’s talking about home improvements. ‘I planted three pines up there…

Ravishing and poignant: ENO’s Orphée reviewed

23 November 2019 9:00 am

Billy Wilder, asked for his opinion of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical version of his movie Sunset Boulevard, famously replied: ‘Those…

Why are Haydn’s operas so lousy? La fedelta premiata reviewed

16 November 2019 9:00 am

There’s a book about musicals that every opera lover should read. Not Since Carrie by Ken Mandelbaum is a history…

Malcolm Arnold was a traumatised wreck of a man at his death but his music was joyous!

19 October 2019 9:00 am

Never meet your heroes, they say. But if you grew up with classical music in the 1980s, there was fat…