contemporary music

Vice and virtue

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

‘Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven?’ screams the publicity for The Judas Passion, transforming a Biblical drama into a…

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,…

Bowled over by Bruckner

9 September 2017 9:00 am

The two Proms concerts given on consecutive evenings by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra were well planned: a short opening work,…

Pat and Richard Nixon in ENO’s 2006 production of John Adams’s Nixon in China

Whatever happened to Alice?

19 August 2017 9:00 am

In 1987, the art of opera changed decisively. John Adams’s opera Nixon in China was so unlike the usual run…

Andrew Shore, Alex Otterburn, Allison Cook and Susan Bullock (left to right) in Edinburgh Festival’s Greek

Classy and classic

12 August 2017 9:00 am

The Edinburgh International Festival began with a double helping of incest. Curiously, Greek — Mark-Anthony Turnage’s East End retelling of…

Losing our religion

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Sir James MacMillan’s European Requiem, performed at the Proms on Sunday, isn’t about Brexit. The composer had to make this…

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…

Our neglect of this great working-class British composer is a disgrace

14 May 2016 9:00 am

One of the greatest choral symphonies of the 20th century, entitled Das Siegeslied (Psalm of Victory), has been heard only…

'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…

Clara Schumann

There's a good reason why there are no great female composers

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Last week a 17-year-old girl forced the Edexcel exam board to change its A-level music syllabus to include the work…

American bomber pilot Paul W. Tibbets Jr. (centre) stands with the ground crew of the bomber 'Enola Gay' which Tibbets flew in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Why are we so silent over Hiroshima?

8 August 2015 9:00 am

It’s 70 years since the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and yet there has been no rush to…

London shouting: The Clash at the ICA, 1976

Why plotting a sound map of London is impossible

18 July 2015 9:00 am

The opening bars of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony (1914) are scooped out from the gloopy bedrock of the…

New works at the Proms that some would rather dernière than première

11 July 2015 9:00 am

This year the Proms are to stage 21 world premières and 11 European, UK or London premières. It is good…

Is this the greatest piano work of the 21st century?

20 June 2015 9:00 am

The award of a knighthood to the composer James MacMillan will have ruined last weekend for lots of unsavoury people:…

Hans Werner Henze: the Ed Miliband of opera

20 June 2015 9:00 am

We opera critics love gazing into crystal balls. We’re particularly good at discovering Ed Milibands and backing them to the…

Half-brilliant, half-bewildering: Peter Pan at Welsh National Opera reviewed

23 May 2015 9:00 am

In Beryl Bainbridge’s novel An Awfully Big Adventure the producer Meredith Potter issues a doughty injunction on the subject of…

‘I find my comfort zone in the wilderness’: Barbara Hannigan

Classical music doesn't need to change. It just needs more performers like Barbara Hannigan

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Everyone keeps talking about classical music’s image problem, and proposals on the table designed to rescue the music from apparent…

Identity crisis: Rachele Gilmore as Alice

Alice in Wonderland at the Barbican reviewed: too much miaowing

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson loved little girls. He loved to tell them stories, he loved to feed them jam, he loved…