Barbican

Musical shapeshifters: I Faglioni performing Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible at Milton Court Concert Hall Credit: Mark Allan/Barbican

The Holy Grail of concert-going: I Fagiolini deliver serious musicianship that never takes itself too seriously

11 May 2019 9:00 am

We’ve all read the article. It does the rounds with the dispiriting regularity of an unwanted dish on a sushi…

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

Real psychological horror and a mesmerising heroine: ENO’s Lucia di Lammermoor reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

How do you solve a problem like Lucia? Murder, madness, abuse, possibly even incest, all set to a soundtrack of…

A woman-child of dangerous assurance: Allison Cook as Salome in Adena Jacobs’s new production for English National Opera. [Catherine Ashmore]

A fascinating failure, but a failure nonetheless: ENO’s Salome reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Yes, Oscar Wilde never wrote it. No, Strauss didn’t intend it. In fact, the composer famously demanded the Dance of…

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…

Life is a cabaret: Barry Humphries and Meow Meow

Barry Humphries on Trump, transgender ‘rat-baggery’ and causing maximum offence

21 July 2018 9:00 am

‘I’m an amateur,’ Barry Humphries tells me. The Australian polymath uses the word in its older sense of ‘enthusiast’ rather…

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…

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…

Gorgeous but exhausting: Jurowski/LPO at Royal Festival Hall reviewed

9 December 2017 9:00 am

To get a flavour of Joseph Marx’s An Autumn Symphony, picture the confectionery counter in a grand Viennese café. Beneath…

Beauty and the beast

30 September 2017 9:00 am

I was going to start with a little moan. About the shouty marketing, the digital diarrhoea, the sycophantic drivel, which,…

Director’s cut

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Much fuss has been made of the title given to Sir Simon Rattle on arrival at the London Symphony Orchestra.…

Hadyn recreated

22 July 2017 9:00 am

‘Rarely, rarely, comest thou, Spirit of Delight!’ wrote Elgar, quoting Shelley, at the top of his Second Symphony. He should…

A genuine oddity

22 July 2017 9:00 am

The most compelling pop singers in music right now — at least in the branch where pop singers still play…

They like to move it: voguing at Club a la Mode, New York, 1998

Yes sir, we can boogie

15 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s dance — but not as you know it. A giddy mass of flying limbs, sashaying hips and pouty faces.…

Three hours of vomit, fellatio and menstruation: Isabelle Huppert on Phaedra(s)

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Isabelle Huppert does nothing by halves. And she doesn’t, I think, care greatly for journalists. She expects them to ask…

Is there a funnier opera than Gerald Barry’s Importance of Being Earnest?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Comic opera is no laughing matter. Seriously, when was the last time you laughed out loud in the opera house?…

The rotten fruits of Peter Maxwell Davies’s modernism

9 April 2016 9:00 am

The intransigence of Maxwell Davies, Boulez and Stockhausen is coming home to roost. Here were three composers, famous if not…

Does the great Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki think his audience will burn in hell?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

When the Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki leads his forces in a performance of a Bach cantata, does he worry that…

Naked ambition: Anthony Roth Costanzo in Philip Glass’s ‘Akhnaten’

In a world full of zombie new operas, thank god for Philip Glass’s Akhnaten

12 March 2016 9:00 am

A mixed year so far for new opera. A few really dismal things have appeared from people who should know…

Through a lens darkly: from the series ‘New Brighton’ , ‘The Last Resort’, 1985

‘I enjoy the banal’: Stephen Bayley meets Martin Parr

27 February 2016 9:00 am

‘I like ordinary people,’ says the extraordinary photographer Martin Parr, pushing a few high-concept smoked sprats around his plate at…

Powerful and upsetting: Pelléas et Mélisande at the Barbican reviewed

16 January 2016 9:00 am

There are some operas, as there are some people, that it is impossible to establish a settled relationship with, and…

Why the greatest innovations do only one thing, but do it well

12 December 2015 9:00 am

McDonald’s got rid of cutlery. Uber does not allow you to pre-book taxis. Amazon began by selling only books. Conventional…

Royal Opera’s Cavalleria rusticana isn’t nearly vulgar enough

12 December 2015 9:00 am

How often do you get a chance to see two operas by Leoncavallo in the same city in the same…

Hot seats: Charles and Ray Eames posing with chair bases

The couple behind the world’s most famous chair

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Peter Mandelson, in his moment of pomp, had his portrait taken by Lord Snowdon. He is sitting on a fine…

'A glittering concentrate of fury in her dark eyes': Patricia Racette as Katerina Ismailova in 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk'

Thank god for bored wives: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the ENO reviewed

3 October 2015 9:00 am

‘Kiss me, Sergei! Kiss me hard! Kiss me until the icons fall and split!’ sings Katerina Ismailova, adulterous antiheroine of…

Mr Nice Guy: Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet is far too nice

12 September 2015 9:00 am

You can’t play the part of Hamlet, only parts of Hamlet. And the bits Benedict Cumberbatch offers us are of…