Classical

Funny, faithful and inventive: Scottish Opera’s Barber of Seville reviewed

11 November 2023 9:00 am

A violinist friend in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra used to talk about an orchestra’s ‘muscle memory’; a collective…

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…

Rejoice that Hyperion’s impeccable back catalogue is finally available to stream

16 September 2023 9:00 am

At the beginning of the 1980s a former ice-cream salesman called Ted Perry drove a London minicab to raise money…

Every crumb of Kurtag’s music is a feast: Endgame, at the Proms, reviewed

9 September 2023 9:00 am

The fun starts early in Beckett’s Endgame. Within minutes of opening his mouth, blind bully Hamm decides to starve his…

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…

A brilliantly cruel Cosi and punkish Petrushka but the Brits disappoint: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence reviewed

26 August 2023 9:00 am

Aix is an odd place. It should be charming, with its dishevelled squares, Busby Berkeley-esque fountains, pretty ochres and pinks.…

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…

Why is this genius playing to a half-empty Royal Albert Hall? Benjamin Grosvenor Prom reviewed

22 July 2023 9:00 am

There were times during last Friday’s First Night of the Proms when it felt as if we’d been transported back…

The greatest female composer you’ve never heard of

10 June 2023 9:00 am

One of the most intriguing piano concertos of the late 19th century is unknown to the public – and no…

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…

The coronation music was – mostly – a triumph

13 May 2023 9:00 am

Sir Hubert Parry was upgraded from knight bachelor to baronet by King Edward VII in 1902, and my goodness he…

Discover who wrote the catchy music for the coronation of the cannibal Emperor Bokassa

6 May 2023 9:00 am

If being asked to write music for the coronation of a king is an honour, then doing it for an…

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…

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…

Why does everyone hate Max Reger?

18 March 2023 9:00 am

The German composer Max Reger, born 150 years ago next week, is mostly remembered today for countless elephantine fugues and…

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…

The unknown German composer championed by Mahler

18 February 2023 9:00 am

I was sceptical when the lady on the bus to Reading town centre told me that her father knew Liszt.…