Opera

A coherent evening of real opera: GSMD's Triple Bill reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Covid has been many things to the arts — most of them unprintable. A plague, a scourge, a disaster from…

Unobtrusively filmed, powerfully performed but still unsatisfying: LSO's Bluebeard reviewed

7 November 2020 9:00 am

The timing couldn’t be better. Just as the gates clang shut on another national lockdown, trapping us all indefinitely with…

A new opera that deserves more than one outing: Royal Opera's New Dark Age reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

It’s quite a title sequence. Puccini swells on the soundtrack and words flash before your eyes. ‘Ecstatic!’ ‘Spellbound!’ ‘Passionate!’ ‘Dazzled!’…

A silly, bouncy delight: Glyndebourne's In the Market for Love reviewed

17 October 2020 9:00 am

Offenbach at Glyndebourne! Short of Die Soldaten with a picnic break or a period-instrument revival of Jerry Springer: The Opera,…

The trainer who sings opera to her racehorses

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Wetumpka Racing? When your yard is running at a handsome strike rate of 40 per cent wins to runs you…

I pounded my car horn like a Neapolitan cabbie: ENO's drive-in Bohème reviewed

26 September 2020 9:00 am

The email from English National Opera was blunt: ‘Your arrival time is 18.25. If you arrive outside your allocated time…

The joy of going to a real concert: OHP's Heart of Delight reviewed

22 August 2020 9:00 am

I went to a concert! Not a livestream or download: a real concert, with real musicians, a real conductor, a…

‘Where I grew up, classical music was diversity’: an interview with conductor Alpesh Chauhan

15 August 2020 9:00 am

Richard Bratby talks to Birmingham Opera Company’s new music director Alpesh Chauhan about his Brummie roots, Bruckner and how his BAME heritage is a non-story

Why imperfect operas like Don Carlo are more interesting than perfect ones

8 August 2020 9:00 am

In the 62 years since I first heard and saw Don Carlo, in the famous and long-lasting production by Visconti…

After weeks of silence, Royal Opera reopened with a whimper

20 June 2020 9:00 am

It was the fourth time, or maybe the fifth, that I found myself reaching for the tissues that I began…

The best recordings of Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges

6 June 2020 9:00 am

‘I don’t want to do my work. I want to go for a walk. I want to eat all the…

Swanky, stale and sullen, the summer music festival has had its day

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The summer music festival has had its day, says Norman Lebrecht

Drunk singers, Ravel on film and prime Viennese operetta: the addictive joys of classical YouTube

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The full addictive potential of classical YouTube needs to be experienced to be understood. And let’s be honest, there are…

No one understood the ennui of lockdown better than Louis XIV and his courtiers

9 May 2020 9:00 am

A few years ago I interviewed an eminent baroque conductor. Prickly and professorial, tired after a day of rehearsals, he…

It costs a lot of money to look this cheap: Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home Gala reviewed

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Desperate times call for desperate measures. With the world’s opera houses currently dark, the New York Metropolitan Opera tackled the…

Michael Tanner remembers the greatest musical experience of his life

25 April 2020 9:00 am

No surprise: the greatest musical experience of my life was Parsifal at Bayreuth in 1962. I thought at the time…

Bleak humour, resourcefulness and wit: Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Quarantine Soirées reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

There’s a certain merit in bluntness. ‘Quarantine Soirées’ was what the Budapest Festival Orchestra called its response to the crisis,…

Bigamists, lunatics and adventurers: the raucous world of 19th century British music

21 March 2020 9:00 am

The world of 19th-century British music was raucous, but are there any masterpieces waiting to be rediscovered? wonders Richard Bratby

Letters: We need career detectives, not fast-tracked officers

7 March 2020 9:00 am

We need career detectives Sir: Your lead article (Trial and error, 29 February) rightly condemns Tom Watson for pressurising police…

If your instinct is to undermine Beethoven, you’re directing the wrong opera: Fidelio reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

‘People may say I can’t sing,’ said the soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, ‘but no one can ever say I didn’t…

Antonio Pappano on diversity, a new Ring cycle and defending Verdi from dodgy directors

29 February 2020 9:00 am

After a record 18 years – and counting – as music director, Antonio Pappano talks to Norman Lebrecht about life after Covent Garden and how opera is beyond younger audiences

Eurotrash Verdi: ENO’s Luisa Miller reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Verdi’s Luisa Miller is set in the Tyrol in the early 17th century, and for some opera directors that’s a…

Are we going to have to start taking Calixto Bieito seriously? ENO’s Carmen reviewed

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Calixto Bieito’s Carmen: three words to make an opera critic’s heart leap. Until quite recently, Bieito was the operatic provocateur…

The audience were in tears: Christian Gerhaher/Gerold Huber at the Wigmore Hall reviewed

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

‘Popular’ classical music is a relative term. Show me someone who thinks Beethoven is surefire box office, and I’ll show……

Sadistic and repellent and thrilling: Mascagni’s Iris reviewed

7 December 2019 9:00 am

If you’ve ever felt that poor Madama Butterfly had a bit of a raw deal, then you really, really don’t…