Richard Bratby

Claude Vivier ought to be a modern classic. Why isn't he?

28 May 2022 9:00 am

April is the cruellest month, but May is shaping up quite pleasantly and the daylight streamed in through the east…

Even Nelsons’s miscalculations are fascinating: Leipzig Gewandhaus/Andris Nelsons, at the Barbican, reviewed

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Imagine growing up with a whole orchestra as your plaything. Richard Strauss’s father was the principal horn of the Munich…

Too affectionate, not enough cruelty: Don Pasquale, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

There are many things to enjoy in the Royal Opera’s revival of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, but perhaps the most surprising…

A fine cast, superbly conducted – just don't overthink the production: Royal Opera's Lohengrin reviewed

30 April 2022 9:00 am

To be a Wagnerite is to enter the theatre in a state of paranoia. Mainstream culture has decided that Wagner…

Igor Levit deserved his standing ovation; Shostakovich, even more so

16 April 2022 9:00 am

Music and politics don’t mix, runs the platitude. Looks a bit tattered now, doesn’t it? For Soviet musicians, of course,…

A spirited attempt to fix a show that’s never really flown: Utopia, Limited reviewed

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Utopia, Limited (1893) is a rare bird, and one that every Gilbert and Sullivan completist simply has to bag. The…

Pitch-black satire drenched in an atmosphere of compelling unease: ETO's Golden Cockerel reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Blame it on Serge Diaghilev. Rimsky-Korsakov died in 1908 and never saw the première of his last opera, The Golden…

Comes so close to greatness but succumbs to prejudice: Royal Opera's Peter Grimes reviewed

26 March 2022 9:00 am

No question, the Royal Opera is on a roll. Just look at the cast list alone for Deborah Warner’s new…

Spot-on in almost every way: Scottish Opera's A Midsummer Night’s Dream reviewed

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Scottish Opera’s new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems to open in midwinter. Snow falls, fairies hurl snowballs…

Astonishing, if unnecessary, grandstanding: Barbara Hannigan's La voix humaine reviewed

12 March 2022 9:00 am

I think it was when she leaned forward and balanced on one leg that Barbara Hannigan jumped the shark. It…

Deserves to become an ENO staple: The Cunning Little Vixen reviewed

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Spoiler alert. The last words in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen come from a child playing a frog. The story…

Old-school excess, star power and spectacle: Royal Opera's Tosca reviewed

19 February 2022 9:00 am

London felt like its old self on Friday night. Possibly it was just me; when you visit the capital once…

Turns Handel into a Netflix thriller: Royal Opera's Theodora reviewed

12 February 2022 9:00 am

The Royal Opera has come over all baroque. In the Linbury Theatre, they’re hosting Irish National Opera’s production of Vivaldi’s…

Ralph Vaughan Williams: modernist master

5 February 2022 9:00 am

He is caricatured as a populist and purveyor of ‘folky-wolky’ melodies, says Richard Bratby, but Vaughan Williams was a modernist master of uncompromising originality

Clear, complex and gripping: Opera North's Rigoletto reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Say what you like about that Duke of Mantua, but he’s basically an OK sort of bloke. A bit of…

Not pleasant, and not in tune, but unarguably compelling: Royal Opera's Nabucco reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Nabucco, said Giuseppe Verdi, ‘was born under a lucky star’. It was both his last throw of the dice and…

A booster shot of sunlight: Unsuk Chin's new violin concerto reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra began the year with a world première. Unsuk Chin’s Second Violin Concerto…

Business as usual

8 January 2022 9:00 am

It’s 2022 and classical music is, again, dead. It’d be surprising if it wasn’t. In 2014 the New Yorker published…

The genius of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker score

18 December 2021 9:00 am

The enduring appeal of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score is nothing less than the sound of Christmas

Reprehensible – but fun: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's Complete DG Recordings reviewed

11 December 2021 9:00 am

 Grade: B It must have been an interesting day in the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s press office when Blair Tindall’s memoir…

In defence of the earworm

4 December 2021 9:00 am

That strain again… it’s the morning after the concert and one tune is still there, playing in the head upon…

40 per cent sublime, 60 per cent ridiculous: ENO's The Valkyrie reviewed

27 November 2021 9:00 am

It’s the final scene of The Valkyrie and Wotan is wearing cords. They’re a sensible choice for a hard-working deity:…

Hockney’s Rake’s Progress remains one of the supreme achievements

20 November 2021 9:00 am

With Glyndebourne’s The Rake’s Progress, the show starts with David Hockney’s front cloth. The colour, the ingenuity, the visual bravura:…

This is how G&S should be staged: ENO's HMS Pinafore reviewed

6 November 2021 9:00 am

Until 1881, HMS Pinafore was the second-longest-running show in West End history. Within a year of its première it had…

Very much NSFW: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet/Quatuor Danel at Wigmore Hall reviewed

30 October 2021 9:00 am

‘Drammatico’, wrote César Franck over the opening of his Piano Quintet, and you’d better believe he meant it. The score…