Opera

Does anyone have the balls to bring back castrati?

3 January 2015 9:00 am

One of the most complete bars to the authentic performance of both baroque opera and some renaissance polyphony is the…

Penelope Lively’s notebook: Coal holes and pub opera

13 December 2014 9:00 am

I have been having my vault done over. Not, as you might think, the family strong room, but the place…

Agents will be queuing up to sign this 26-year-old baritone from Sichuan

13 December 2014 9:00 am

The Royal Academy of Music’s end-of-term opera can always be looked forward to because it never disappoints: the repertoire is…

Forget the Germans. It’s the French who made classical music what it is

6 December 2014 9:00 am

The poor French. When we think of classical music, we always think of the Germans. It’s understandable. Instinctive. Ingrained. But…

Too worthy? Peter Sellars’s staging of John Adams’s ‘Gospel’

ENO’s Gospel According to the Other Mary: great music weighed down by a worthy staging

29 November 2014 9:00 am

Terrorism; East-West diplomacy; nuclear war: John Adams’s operas have poured music into the faultlines of 21st-century global politics, and the…

The erotic Mary, left, by Gregor Erhart (c.1515–20) and the penitent Mary, right, by El Greco (c.1577)

No one in the Bible has been as elaborately misrepresented as Mary Magdalene

22 November 2014 9:00 am

How would the real Mary Magdalene have reacted to her posthumous reputation? Not very kindly, one suspects. Our only historical…

Mariinsky’s Boris Godunov - a revelation

8 November 2014 9:00 am

Anyone who thinks opera singers and orchestral players are overworked should spare a thought for the Mariinsky Opera on its…

Anna Netrebko as Lady in Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’, Metropolitan Opera

Met Opera Live's Macbeth: Netrebko's singing stirred almost as much as her décolletage

1 November 2014 9:00 am

This season of live Met relays got off to a most impressive start, with an electrifying account of Verdi’s tenth…

Wear a veil if you like – but don’t treat women like that

25 October 2014 9:00 am

What sort of clothing do you wear when you go to the opera? I assume some of you do go…

Plisetskaya in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, 1964. She was one of the supreme trophies in the Soviet display case, the most garlanded, the most suspected

Maya Plisetskaya and Rodion Shchedrin: ‘The KGB put a microphone in our marriage bed'

25 October 2014 9:00 am

‘People in the West don’t understand nothing. Even the new Russian generation don’t understand anything at all. You don’t know,…

Spectator letters: St Augustine and Louise Mensch, war votes and flannel

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Faith and flexibility Sir: What a contrast in your two articles on religion last week: one liberal atheist parent (Claire…

ENO’s The Girl of the Golden West is irresistibly seductive

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Puccini’s La fanciulla del West is, one suspects, one of those works that modern audiences struggle to keep a straight…

Alice Coote and Sarah Tynan in ‘Xerxes’ at ENO

Royal Opera's Rigoletto: your disbelief may wobble but your excitement won't

4 October 2014 9:00 am

One of the greatest tests of how an opera house is functioning is the quality of its revivals. Both the…

Robo-Tell hits Welsh National Opera

27 September 2014 9:00 am

Is there a fundamental, insuperable problem with staging Rossini’s Guillaume Tell on a budget, without the resources to conjure up…

Winslow Hall shows you don’t need fancy sets to make opera enjoyable

27 September 2014 8:00 am

Winslow Hall is a large and handsome country house in Buckinghamshire, built in 1700 by Sir Christopher Wren, which Tony…

Eloquent: Allan Clayton as Cassio in Otello

Is Anna Nicole’s absurd life worth our while? Not as much as Otello’s

20 September 2014 9:00 am

So how did London’s two big opera companies launch their new seasons last week? Not perhaps in the way you…

Michael Tanner: Why I prefer Donizetti to Strauss

13 September 2014 9:00 am

Three operas this week, each of them named after its (anti-)heroine: one of the heroines (the most sympathetic) murders her…

The small rewards of small-scale opera

30 August 2014 9:00 am

Perhaps I should come clean straightaway and admit that, despite the fact that OperaUpClose is about to celebrate its fifth…

In defence of Puccini

23 August 2014 9:00 am

During my opera-going lifetime the most sensational change in the repertoire has, of course, been the immense expansion of the…

Farewell, Speccie

19 July 2014 9:00 am

So we are all going to have to pay for fatties to have stomach bands and bypasses, are we? It…

The rich have given up their freedom

3 May 2014 9:00 am

The appointment of Sajid Javid as the new Secretary of State for Culture has been much criticised on the grounds…

Spectator letters: On wind turbines, Churchill's only exam success, and the red-trousered mayor of Bristol

19 April 2014 9:00 am

When the wind blows Sir: Clare Oxford’s piece (‘Gone with the wind turbines’, 12 April) is both timely and sad.…

Leipzig and Dresden are both staging Elektra. Which city wins?

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Yet more performances of Elektra, Richard Strauss’s setting of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s ramped-up, neurosis-riddled 1903 reworking of Sophocles, are unlikely…

The ENO's Magic Flute ignores everything that makes Mozart's opera great

16 November 2013 9:00 am

A new production of The Magic Flute is something to look forward to, if with apprehension. How many aspects of…

If 'Greek' is playing within 200 miles of where you live — watch it

2 November 2013 9:00 am

This week chanced to give me a fascinating study in contrasts and comparisons: Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek at the Linbury Studio,…