Wagner

Bracing and provocative – but would Wagner have approved? Arcola’s Rheingold reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

When it comes to the opening of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Mark Twain probably put it as well as anyone: ‘Out…

The miracle of Longborough – the company that broke the mould for summer opera

8 June 2019 9:00 am

At Longborough Festival Opera, Richard Wagner is on the roof. Literally: his statue stands on top of the little pink…

I genuinely liked Siegfried – which almost never happens: Royal Opera’s Ring cycle reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

‘On Brünnhilde’s rock I drew the breath that called your name; so swift was my journey here.’ It’s Act Two…

An exalted experience even without a convincing central character: Siegfried in Edinburgh reviewed

18 August 2018 9:00 am

There’s one big problem with Wagner’s Siegfried, and the clue’s in the name. None of Wagner’s mature works hangs so…

A grim and impoverished place: Royal Opera’s new Lohengrin

Longborough continues to be a refuge for British Wagnerians fleeing idiotic productions

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Longborough Festival Opera, refuge for British Wagnerians fleeing unidiomatic musical performances and idiotically irrelevant and insulting productions, has rounded off…

Debussy Festival

How Debussy slipped past Wagner into the unknown

31 March 2018 9:00 am

A spectre haunted the first weekend of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Debussy Festival: the spectre of Richard Wagner.…

Celebrating Carter was one of the most energising musical occasions in years

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Das Rheingold at the Royal Festival Hall was, all told, a disappointment, but it might not have been had there…

Claude Debussy and his daughter Chouchou near Arcachon, France, 1915

Debussy, Tippett and Wagner: the musical treats of 2018

6 January 2018 9:00 am

Claude Debussy died on 25 March 1918 to the sound of explosions. Four days earlier, the Kaiser’s army had deployed…

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…

The maestro could hear if a single player was doing something wrong, even in the most noisy tutti

The morality of conducting

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Now he is the greatest figure for me, in the world. [Toscanini is] the last proud, noble, unbending representative (with…

New kid on the block

22 July 2017 9:00 am

The new Grange Park Opera at Horsley is amazing, as everyone who visits it must agree. In less than a…

The conducting is as potent as Furtwängler’s: Opera North’s Ring reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

When I interviewed Richard Farnes in Leeds six years ago about Opera North’s project of performing the complete Ring, he…

‘His operas offer a straightforward experience’

Verdi’s works are more entertainment than art

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Verdi has a peculiar if not unique place in the pantheon of great composers. If you love classical music at…

Royal Opera’s Tannhäuser is one of the ugliest stagings I have set eyes on

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Cursed, or perhaps blessed, with almost no visual memory at all, I had almost completely forgotten what the Royal Opera’s…

Predictably meh: Scottish Ballet’s new Swan Lake reviewed

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Every ballet company wants a box-office earner. But why Scottish Ballet’s leader Christopher Hampson kept on at David Dawson until…

If you want to know how music really works listen to Classic FM not Radio 3

7 May 2016 9:00 am

He’s been billed as the new Pied Piper but it’s going to take a while for Tom Service to quite…

First Dates is perfectly formed TV

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Now the kids are back for the school holidays, I have a licence to watch complete trash again. No more…

Norma at the ENO (Photo: Alastair Muir)

Long live ENO!

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The three most moving, transporting death scenes in 19th-century opera all involve the respective heroines mounting a funeral pyre —…

Annemarie Kremer as Maddelena. Photo Credit: Robert Workman

Miserable libretto, music to match: Andrea Chénier reviewed

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Opera North continues to be the most reliable, inspiring, resourceful and enterprising opera company in the United Kingdom, and all…

Spare us this unanimous chorus of praise for Pierre Boulez

16 January 2016 9:00 am

Pierre Boulez, who died last week at the age of 90, would have been the last person, one hopes, to…

How the Germans made Glyndebourne

21 November 2015 9:00 am

This is hardly the time of year for picnics on the lawn, but I have nevertheless had a week dominated…

Late Brahms is wonderfully crafted - which is why it's so dull

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet begins, writes his biographer Jan Swafford, with ‘a gentle, dying-away roulade that raises a veil of autumnal…

Going ape: Bertie Carvel as Yank

Glyndebourne caters to the lower-middle classes not past-it toffs

7 November 2015 9:00 am

What is Glyndebourne? A middle-aged Bullingdon. That’s a common view: a luxury bun fight for past-it toffs who glug champagne,…

The finest Tristan since Siegfried Jerusalem

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Which of Wagner’s mature dramas is the most challenging, for performers and spectators? The one you’re seeing at the moment,…

Lunch with a claret fit for gods, heroes and David Cameron

20 June 2015 9:00 am

I cannot remember a jollier lunch. There are two brothers, Sebastian and Nicholas Payne, both practical epicureans. They have made…