Richard Bratby

A short history of millionaire composers

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Art is supposed to emerge from poverty but extreme wealth does not preclude talent, as the history of composers proves. By Richard Bratby

Zips along with enormous vim: Malcolm Arnold's The Dancing Master reviewed

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Malcolm Arnold composed his opera The Dancing Master in 1952 for BBC television. It never appeared, the problem being the…

Comedy genius: Garsington Opera's Le Comte Ory reviewed

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Melons. An absolutely cracking pair of melons, right there on a platter: the centrepiece of the banquet that the chaste,…

Wow, this is good: Grange Park Opera's Ivan the Terrible reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

There are worse inconveniences than having to wear a face mask to the opera. But there’s one consequence that hadn’t…

A new concerto draws cheers in Liverpool: RLPO/Hindoyan reviewed

26 June 2021 9:00 am

There was no printed programme for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s first concert under its music director designate Domingo Hindoyan.…

The promoter the critics love to hate: an interview with Raymond Gubbay

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Richard Bratby talks to one of Britain’s most successful impresarios about his promoter’s nose, Arts Council spinelessness and ENO madness

Lush, elegant and vivid: Der Rosenkavalier at Garsington reviewed

12 June 2021 9:00 am

At the turning point of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Der Rosenkavalier, all the clocks stop. Octavian has arrived…

Hit every auditory G-spot simultaneously: CBSO/Hough/Gardner concert reviewed

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Rejoice: live music is back. Or at least, live music with a live audience, which, as Sir Simon Rattle admitted,…

For fans of neglected, niche and uncool music, lockdown has been a blessing

15 May 2021 9:00 am

When this whole mess is over, there’ll be a shortish MA thesis — or at least a blog post —…

Are Mozart's forgotten contemporaries worth reviving?

1 May 2021 9:00 am

There are worse fates than posthumous obscurity. When Mozart visited Munich in October 1777, he was initially reluctant to visit…

The Mozarts of ad music

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Richard Bratby meets the hidden men and women composing melodies to make you buy

How real is the performing arts exodus?

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Richard Bratby on the post-Covid exodus of talent from the performing arts

Three new releases that show the classical recording industry is alive and well

13 March 2021 9:00 am

Rachmaninov’s First Symphony begins with a snarl, and gets angrier. A menacing skirl from the woodwinds, a triple-fortissimo blast from…

Perfect English songs in fresh new colours: Roderick Williams sings Butterworth

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Another week, another online concert; and since orchestral music seems likely to be confined to screens and stereos for a…

The two composers who defined British cinema also wrote inspired operas

20 February 2021 9:00 am

It’s my new lockdown ritual. Switch on the telly, cue up the menu and scroll down to where the vintage…

From bad joke to 21st-century classic: the best recordings of Korngold’s Violin Concerto

13 February 2021 9:00 am

Erich Korngold was what you might call an early adopter. As a child prodigy in Habsburg Vienna, he’d astonished the…

The music we need right now: James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio reviewed

6 February 2021 9:00 am

The two most depressing words in contemporary classical music? That’s easy: holy minimalism. I know, I know. Lots of people…

There’s no better sonic hangover cure: New Year’s Day Concert reviewed

9 January 2021 9:00 am

The best moment in the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Day Concert comes after the end of the advertised programme.…

Hear the greatest Parsifal of our time sing like a Muppet: Jonas Kaufmann’s Christmas album reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

In classical music circles, Christmas arrives with the overture to Handel’s Messiah. Or so they’ll tell you. In truth, festivities…

Refined and dreamy: CBSO centenary concerts reviewed

12 December 2020 9:00 am

For an orchestra to lose one anniversary concert may be regarded as unfortunate. To lose two? Welcome to 2020. The…

The beautiful, haunted symphonies of Franz Schmidt

5 December 2020 9:00 am

The sounds that Franz Schmidt made while learning the trumpet were pretty much unbearable, or so the story goes. In…

Turn it up and feel the walls shake: John Wilson's Respighi reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Grade: A The strings rear up, there’s a flash of steel from the trumpets, and ten seconds into Respighi’s Feste…

A new opera that deserves more than one outing: Royal Opera's New Dark Age reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

It’s quite a title sequence. Puccini swells on the soundtrack and words flash before your eyes. ‘Ecstatic!’ ‘Spellbound!’ ‘Passionate!’ ‘Dazzled!’…

A silly, bouncy delight: Glyndebourne's In the Market for Love reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Offenbach at Glyndebourne! Short of Die Soldaten with a picnic break or a period-instrument revival of Jerry Springer: The Opera,…

I pounded my car horn like a Neapolitan cabbie: ENO's drive-in Bohème reviewed

26 September 2020 9:00 am

The email from English National Opera was blunt: ‘Your arrival time is 18.25. If you arrive outside your allocated time…