Richard Bratby

The miracle of watching a great string quartet perform

28 October 2023 9:00 am

Joseph Haydn, it’s generally agreed, invented the string quartet. And having done so, he re-invented it: again and again. Take…

Juicy solution to the Purcell problem: Opera North’s Masque of Might reviewed

21 October 2023 9:00 am

Another week, another attempt to solve the Purcell problem. There’s a problem? Well, yes, if you consider that a composer…

Ebullience and majesty: Opera North’s Falstaff reviewed

7 October 2023 9:00 am

Opera North has launched a ‘Green Season’, which means (among other things) that the sets and costumes for its new…

ENO’s Peter Grimes shows a major international company operating at full artistic power

30 September 2023 9:00 am

In David Alden’s production of Peter Grimes, the mob assembles before the music has even started – silhouetted at the…

Wagner rewilded: Das Rheingold, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

23 September 2023 9:00 am

In Northern Ireland Opera’s new Tosca, the curtain rises on a big concrete dish from which a pair of eyes…

A euphoric meat-and-two-veg programme: Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich/Paavo Jarvi, at the Proms, reviewed

9 September 2023 9:00 am

We used to call it a ‘meat and two veg’ programme, back in my concert planning days: the reliable set…

Doesn’t get better than this: The Threepenny Opera, at Edinburgh International Festival, reviewed

2 September 2023 9:00 am

It’s the Edinburgh International Festival, and Barrie’s back in town. Once, Edinburgh was pretty much the only place that you…

Fast cars, minimalist design and en suite bathrooms: the real Rachmaninoff

2 September 2023 9:00 am

Fast cars, minimalist design and en suite bathrooms: Richard Bratby visits the composer’s starkly modern Swiss home

Imagine a school concert hosted by Bela Lugosi: Budapest Festival Orchestra and Ivan Fischer, at the Proms, reviewed

19 August 2023 9:00 am

‘Audience Choice’ was the promise at the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Sunday matinee Prom, and come on – who could resist…

An absolute romp framed by dutiful tut-tutting: Semele at Glyndebourne reviewed

5 August 2023 9:00 am

If directors will insist on staging Handel oratorios as if they’re operas, it makes sense to pick Semele, which is…

The future of opera – I hope: WNO’s Candide reviewed

29 July 2023 9:00 am

Bernstein’s Candide is the operetta that ought to work, but never quite does. Voltaire’s featherlight cakewalk through human misery, set…

Was Vera Brittain really this insufferable? Buxton Festival’s The Land of Might-Have-Been reviewed

15 July 2023 9:00 am

‘Ring out your bells for me, ivory keys! Weave out your spell for me, orchestra please!’ It’s lush stuff, the…

Featherweight fun: La Cenerentola, at Nevill Holt Opera, reviewed

8 July 2023 9:00 am

‘Goodness Triumphant’ is the subtitle of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and you’d better believe he delivers. It’s the sweetest thing imaginable;…

Festival finest

1 July 2023 9:00 am

Why the Chester Mystery Plays are more popular than ever

1 July 2023 9:00 am

The Chester Mystery Plays date back to the 13th century – but are more popular now than ever, finds Richard Bratby

Taut as a drumskin: Dialogues des Carmélites, at Glyndebourne, reviewed

24 June 2023 9:00 am

The three Just Stop Oil protestors were sitting in the stalls, somewhere near the middle of the front row. Someone…

To die for: Grange Park Opera’s Tristan & Isolde reviewed

17 June 2023 9:00 am

There are a lot of corpses on stage at the end of Charles Edwards’s production of Tristan & Isolde for…

The final scenes are a knockout: Glyndebourne’s Don Giovanni reviewed

10 June 2023 9:00 am

Are you supposed to laugh at the end of Don Giovanni? Audiences often do, and they did at the end…

CSI: Seville

27 May 2023 9:00 am

Florid flummery: ETO’s Il viaggio a Reims reviewed

20 May 2023 9:00 am

Lightning sometimes strikes twice. English Touring Opera hit topical gold last spring when, wholly by coincidence, they found themselves touring…

WNO sinks an unsinkable opera: The Magic Flute, at Birmingham Hippodrome, reviewed

13 May 2023 9:00 am

As stage directions go, the The Magic Flute opens with a zinger. ‘Tamino enters from the right wearing a splendid…

Upstart Crow without the jokes: RSC’s Hamnet, at the Swan Theatre, reviewed

6 May 2023 9:00 am

The Swan Theatre has reopened after an overhaul and praise god: they’ve replaced the seats. The Swan is a likeable…

Dramatically powerful and sonically beguiling: Innocence, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

29 April 2023 9:00 am

Plus: a striking production of an operatic dud at ENO

The last unashamedly happy masterpiece: Haydn’s The Creation, at Ulster Hall, reviewed

22 April 2023 9:00 am

Haydn’s The Creation is Paradise Lost without the Lost. True, the words aren’t exactly up there: translated into German by…

An old production that’s aged better than most: Royal Opera’s Turandot reviewed

15 April 2023 9:00 am

Since its première in 1984, Andrei Serban’s production of Puccini’s Turandot has been revived 15 times at Covent Garden, not…