Opera

A short history of millionaire composers

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Art is supposed to emerge from poverty but extreme wealth does not preclude talent, as the history of composers proves. By Richard Bratby

Zips along with enormous vim: Malcolm Arnold's The Dancing Master reviewed

24 July 2021 9:00 am

Malcolm Arnold composed his opera The Dancing Master in 1952 for BBC television. It never appeared, the problem being the…

Comedy genius: Garsington Opera's Le Comte Ory reviewed

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Melons. An absolutely cracking pair of melons, right there on a platter: the centrepiece of the banquet that the chaste,…

The finest Falstaff you’ll see this summer

10 July 2021 9:00 am

Comedy’s a funny thing. No, seriously, the business of making people laugh is as fragile, as mercurial as cryptocurrency —…

You'll shrug where you should marvel: Garsington's Amadigi reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

When you think of Handel’s Amadigi (in so far as anyone thinks about the composer’s rarely staged, also-ran London score…

Wow, this is good: Grange Park Opera's Ivan the Terrible reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

There are worse inconveniences than having to wear a face mask to the opera. But there’s one consequence that hadn’t…

Lush, elegant and vivid: Der Rosenkavalier at Garsington reviewed

12 June 2021 9:00 am

At the turning point of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Der Rosenkavalier, all the clocks stop. Octavian has arrived…

World-class music, heavily symbolic staging: Glyndebourne's Katya Kabanova reviewed

5 June 2021 9:00 am

At the first night of Glyndebourne Festival 2021 there was relief and joyful expectation as Gus Christie made his speech…

Where to start with the music of Ethel Smyth

17 April 2021 9:00 am

I’m reminded of an old Irish joke. A tourist approaches a local for directions to Dublin. The local, after much…

The two composers who defined British cinema also wrote inspired operas

20 February 2021 9:00 am

It’s my new lockdown ritual. Switch on the telly, cue up the menu and scroll down to where the vintage…

Another cracking take on the opera film: Marquee TV’s Turn of the Screw reviewed

30 January 2021 9:00 am

I’m still waiting for the Royal Opera to step up. Nearly a year into the Covid crisis and what do…

British opera companies and orchestras must start investing in native talent

23 January 2021 9:00 am

Brexit and Covid have pushed us out of the common musical market and thrown us back on homegrown sprouts. Good, says Norman Lebrecht

Most artistic careers end in failure. Why does no one talk about this?

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Rosie Millard dispels the myth that persistence is always rewarded

There’s no better sonic hangover cure: New Year’s Day Concert reviewed

9 January 2021 9:00 am

The best moment in the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Day Concert comes after the end of the advertised programme.…

Hear the greatest Parsifal of our time sing like a Muppet: Jonas Kaufmann’s Christmas album reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

In classical music circles, Christmas arrives with the overture to Handel’s Messiah. Or so they’ll tell you. In truth, festivities…

The grotesque unevenness of Mozart’s Requiem

28 November 2020 9:00 am

It is amazing what fine performances you can get beamed to your computer these days. Slightly less amazing is the…

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…