Richard Bratby

The opera’s a masterpiece but the production doesn’t quite come off: ENO’s The Dead City reviewed

1 April 2023 9:00 am

English National Opera has arrived at the Dead City, and who, before Christmas, would have given odds that this new…

If you’re anywhere near Edinburgh, get a ticket: Scottish Opera’s Il trittico reviewed

25 March 2023 9:00 am

It does no harm, once in a while, to assume that the creators of an opera actually know what they’re…

Electrifying: London Handel Festival’s In the Realms of Sorrow, at Stone Nest, reviewed

11 March 2023 9:00 am

Hector Berlioz dismissed Handel as ‘that tub of pork and beer’ but it wasn’t always like that. Picture a younger,…

Dated and wasteful: Rusalka, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

4 March 2023 9:00 am

Careful what you wish for. There can be no definitive way to stage an opera, and it’s the critic’s duty…

Talking trash

25 February 2023 9:00 am

The musical émigrés from Nazi-Europe who shaped postwar Britain

18 February 2023 9:00 am

Halfway up the stairs to the Royal College of Music’s exhibition Music, Migration & Mobility is a map of NW3,…

Revival of the fittest

11 February 2023 9:00 am

Opera North has begun 2023 with a couple of big revivals, and it’s always rewarding to call in on these…

Still ugly but worth catching for the chorus and orchestra: Royal Opera’s Tannhäuser reviewed

4 February 2023 9:00 am

A classical concert programme is like a set menu, and for this palate the most tempting orchestral offering in the…

Stirring and sophisticated: RLPO, Chooi, Hindoyan, at the Philharmonic Hall, reviewed

28 January 2023 9:00 am

Daniel Barenboim was supposed to perform with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra earlier this month. His recent health concerns made…

Midnight sun

18 January 2023 10:00 pm

Do conductors have to be cruel to be good?

7 January 2023 9:00 am

Richard Bratby on monstrous maestros

What makes a Christmas song Christmassy?

17 December 2022 9:00 am

Temperature records for Los Angeles in the summer of 1945 are patchy, but 90 in the shade seems to have…

If Ravel’s Boléro makes you yawn, you’re not really listening

10 December 2022 9:00 am

Only boring people are bored by Ravel’s Boléro. True, the composer – the slyest of wits – left his share…

The sonic equivalent of a Starbucks Eggnog Latte: ENO’s It’s a Wonderful Life reviewed

3 December 2022 9:00 am

Whoosh! A digital starburst, a sweep of orchestral sound and the stage of the Coliseum is alive with dancing, whirling…

Hugely entertaining: Royal Opera’s Alcina reviewed

19 November 2022 9:00 am

A hotel bellboy, the story goes, discovered George Best in a luxury suite surrounded by scantily clad lovelies and empty…

A towering achievement: ENO’s The Yeomen of the Guard reviewed

12 November 2022 9:00 am

The screw may twist and the rack may turn: the Tower of London, in Jo Davies’s new production of The…

A total (and often gripping) theatrical experience: Scottish Opera’s Ainadamar reviewed

5 November 2022 9:00 am

Do you remember Osvaldo Golijov? Two decades ago he was classical music’s Next Big Thing: a credible postmodernist with a…

Bold, self-assured reimagining of Monteverdi: Opera North's Orpheus reviewed

29 October 2022 9:00 am

You wouldn’t like Tamerlano when he’s angry. ‘My heart seethes with rage,’ he sings, in Act III of Handel’s opera…

A miniature rite of a very English spring: a Vaughan Williams rediscovery in Liverpool

22 October 2022 9:00 am

Imagine a folk dance without music. Actually, you don’t have to: poke about on YouTube and you’ll find footage from…

Grey, grey and more grey: Aida, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

8 October 2022 9:00 am

Grey. More grey. So very, very grey. That’s the main visual impression left by Robert Carsen’s new production of Verdi’s…

Why does opera always feel the need apologise for its plots?

1 October 2022 9:00 am

Leos Janacek disliked long operas, and the first act of The Makropulos Affair is a masterclass in how to set…

More depravity, please: Salome, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

24 September 2022 9:00 am

The first night of the new season at Covent Garden was cancelled when the solemn news came through. The second…

Holds out huge promise for future seasons: If Opera's La Rondine reviewed

10 September 2022 9:00 am

One swallow might not make a summer, but it certainly helps rounds the season off. ‘Perhaps, like the swallow, you…

The joy of Franck’s Symphony in D Minor: BBCSO/Gabel, at the Proms, reviewed

3 September 2022 9:00 am

In the Rodgers and Hart musical On Your Toes, a Broadway hoofer is forced to work at a community college,…

An electrifying, immersive thrill: Scottish Opera's Candide reviewed

20 August 2022 9:00 am

The first part of the adventure was getting there. Out of the subway, past the tower blocks and under the…