Richard Bratby

Hrachuhi Bassenz as Amelia Grimaldi in Elijah Moshinsky's Boccanegra for the Royal Opera. Photo: Clive Barda

This Boccanegra is not what you’d expect from UK’s best-funded opera company

24 November 2018 9:00 am

The People are angry. In fact, they’re bloody furious. As the lights flash up on David Pountney’s production of Prokofiev’s…

RLPO and the NDR Radiophilharmonie performing Britten's War Requiem in Liverpool Cathedral. Photo: Liverpool Philharmonic / Mark McNulty

Britten’s War Requiem almost sounded like a masterpiece – but it’s isn’t, is it?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

‘What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?’ We’ve heard a lot, lately, of the knell that tolls through the…

A major modernist hiding in plain sight: composer Ennio Morricone at 91

‘Darmstadt taught me how to compose’: Ennio Morricone interviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Ennio Morricone’s staff wish it to be known that he does not write soundtracks. ‘Maestro Morricone writes “Film Music” NOT…

Thrilling, heartbreaking music drama — you need to see it: Sarah-Jane Lewis as Annie with the chorus in ENO’s Porgy and Bess

Thrilling, heartbreaking music drama – you need to see it: ENO’s Porgy and Bess reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess springs to life fully formed, and pulls you in before a word has been sung. A…

I genuinely liked Siegfried – which almost never happens: Royal Opera’s Ring cycle reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

‘On Brünnhilde’s rock I drew the breath that called your name; so swift was my journey here.’ It’s Act Two…

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the LSO at the Barbican

Rattle’s recapitulation: LSO/Simon Rattle at Barbican reviewed

22 September 2018 9:00 am

A pregnant silence, a peaty belch from the tuba, and the scrape of brass on brass as gears lock into…

Pye Green tower looms over the landscape

Tales of UFOs and mysterious big cats come as standard in Cannock Chase

8 September 2018 9:00 am

Cannock Chase is the long, low range of hills that’s visible to your right as you drive north up the…

Kirill Petrenko conducting the Berlin Philharmonic at the 2018 Proms. Photo: BBC/Chris Christodoulou

The gentle side of Bruckner

8 September 2018 9:00 am

The lady behind me on Kensington Gore clearly felt that she owed her friend an apology: ‘It’s Bruckner. I don’t…

Bad Ischl: the spiritual home of Viennese operetta, and where Franz Joseph signed the declaration of war on Serbia

Operetta is serious business in Bad Ischl – and seriously glorious

25 August 2018 9:00 am

It’s the lederhosen that grabs you first. Two gents were walking down the street ahead of us in full Alpine…

An exalted experience even without a convincing central character: Siegfried in Edinburgh reviewed

18 August 2018 9:00 am

There’s one big problem with Wagner’s Siegfried, and the clue’s in the name. None of Wagner’s mature works hangs so…

Before the dawn: Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Dan Godfrey, Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Sir Charles Stanford, seated. Standing: Sir Edward German and Sir Hubert Parry. Bournemouth Centenary Festival, 1910

Music’s Brexit

11 August 2018 9:00 am

It’s October 1895 and the spirit of Music has been absent from Britain for exactly 200 years. Why she fled,…

Psycho thriller: Samuel Barber’s Vanessa at Glyndebourne Festival

Magnificent: Vanessa at Glyndebourne reviewed

11 August 2018 9:00 am

‘Outside this house the world has changed. Life is swifter than before; there is no time for idle gestures.’ Anatol,…

Thrilling energy & humour from Longborough Festival Opera: Ariadne auf Naxos reviewed

28 July 2018 9:00 am

‘They’ve dined well, they’ve drunk their fill, their brains are dull and slow. They’ll sit snoozing in the dark until…

An embarrassing and misshapen dud: Opera Holland Park’s Isabeau reviewed

21 July 2018 9:00 am

I’ve been trying to pinpoint the exact moment when it became impossible to take Mascagni’s Isabeau seriously. It wasn’t when…

Sexy hints of affluence with top notes of fascism: Grange Park’s Roméo et Juliette reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Patrick Mason’s new production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette reminded me of something, but it took a while to work…

OPERA
The ENO Chorus in Acis and Galatea. Photo: Dani Harvey

A fun evening that finished early enough for dinner – neither a given in Handel

23 June 2018 9:00 am

On a sward of AstroTurf somewhere off Silicon Roundabout, Mountain Media is hosting its summer party and, well, it’s the…

A full-on Freudian Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Oh, what a beautiful morning! In Jo Davies’s production of Oklahoma! the audience spends the overture staring at the side…

Detail of Cantata ‘Es ist das Heil’, BWV9

I don’t get why people worship Bach

16 June 2018 9:00 am

I don’t get Johann Sebastian Bach. I mean, I get that he was good — no Mozart, sure, but definitely…

Cold and confusing: Garsington’s Die Zauberflöte reviewed

9 June 2018 9:00 am

The picnic hamper’s open, the bubbly is chilled, and country house opera is starting to eat itself. When you arrive…

Rachel Willis-Sorensen as the Marschallin and Kate Lindsey as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne Festival

Glyndebourne’s Der Rosenkavalier never forgets to be funny

2 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Comedy for music by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Music by Richard Strauss.’ That’s what the creators of Der Rosenkavalier wrote on…

How does David Matthews get away with writing symphonies with tunes in them?

19 May 2018 9:00 am

‘All fish in flood and fowl of flight/ Be mirthful now and make melody’ writes the poet William Dunbar in…

Dudamel’s Amériques made The Rite of Spring sound like Einaudi

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Apparently it’s called ‘expectation management’. Pollux, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s new work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, takes its name from…

Bravura, assurance and generosity: Mark Simpson’s new Cello Concerto reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

The opening of Mark Simpson’s new Cello Concerto is pure Hollywood. A fanfare in the low brass, an upwards rush…

Adult treats in RNCM’s Hansel and Gretel

This Hansel and Gretel has ‘classic’ stamped all over it

7 April 2018 9:00 am

It’s been a good couple of weeks for cuddly toys in opera. A big floppy Eeyore is the only comfort…

Debussy Festival

How Debussy slipped past Wagner into the unknown

31 March 2018 9:00 am

A spectre haunted the first weekend of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Debussy Festival: the spectre of Richard Wagner.…