Richard Bratby

Psycho thriller: Samuel Barber’s Vanessa at Glyndebourne Festival

Magnificent: Vanessa at Glyndebourne reviewed

11 August 2018 9:00 am

‘Outside this house the world has changed. Life is swifter than before; there is no time for idle gestures.’ Anatol,…

Thrilling energy & humour from Longborough Festival Opera: Ariadne auf Naxos reviewed

28 July 2018 9:00 am

‘They’ve dined well, they’ve drunk their fill, their brains are dull and slow. They’ll sit snoozing in the dark until…

An embarrassing and misshapen dud: Opera Holland Park’s Isabeau reviewed

21 July 2018 9:00 am

I’ve been trying to pinpoint the exact moment when it became impossible to take Mascagni’s Isabeau seriously. It wasn’t when…

Sexy hints of affluence with top notes of fascism: Grange Park’s Roméo et Juliette reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Patrick Mason’s new production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette reminded me of something, but it took a while to work…

OPERA
The ENO Chorus in Acis and Galatea. Photo: Dani Harvey

A fun evening that finished early enough for dinner – neither a given in Handel

23 June 2018 9:00 am

On a sward of AstroTurf somewhere off Silicon Roundabout, Mountain Media is hosting its summer party and, well, it’s the…

A full-on Freudian Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Oh, what a beautiful morning! In Jo Davies’s production of Oklahoma! the audience spends the overture staring at the side…

Detail of Cantata ‘Es ist das Heil’, BWV9

I don’t get why people worship Bach

16 June 2018 9:00 am

I don’t get Johann Sebastian Bach. I mean, I get that he was good — no Mozart, sure, but definitely…

Cold and confusing: Garsington’s Die Zauberflöte reviewed

9 June 2018 9:00 am

The picnic hamper’s open, the bubbly is chilled, and country house opera is starting to eat itself. When you arrive…

Rachel Willis-Sorensen as the Marschallin and Kate Lindsey as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne Festival

Glyndebourne’s Der Rosenkavalier never forgets to be funny

2 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Comedy for music by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Music by Richard Strauss.’ That’s what the creators of Der Rosenkavalier wrote on…

How does David Matthews get away with writing symphonies with tunes in them?

19 May 2018 9:00 am

‘All fish in flood and fowl of flight/ Be mirthful now and make melody’ writes the poet William Dunbar in…

Dudamel’s Amériques made The Rite of Spring sound like Einaudi

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Apparently it’s called ‘expectation management’. Pollux, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s new work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, takes its name from…

Bravura, assurance and generosity: Mark Simpson’s new Cello Concerto reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

The opening of Mark Simpson’s new Cello Concerto is pure Hollywood. A fanfare in the low brass, an upwards rush…

Adult treats in RNCM’s Hansel and Gretel

This Hansel and Gretel has ‘classic’ stamped all over it

7 April 2018 9:00 am

It’s been a good couple of weeks for cuddly toys in opera. A big floppy Eeyore is the only comfort…

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.…

Does Gerald Barry hate music?

17 March 2018 9:00 am

Blue Gadoo is one of those cats whose face looks like it’s been bashed flat with a wok. He lives…

A mischievous, daring production that produces the goods: Iolanthe reviewed

24 February 2018 9:00 am

‘Welcome to our hearts again, Iolanthe!’ sings the fairy chorus in Gilbert and Sullivan’s fantasy-satire, and during this exuberant new…

More than ever, this was Ulysses’ show: Royal Opera’s Return of Ulysses reviewed

20 January 2018 9:00 am

Spoiler alert: the final image of John Fulljames’s production of Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses at the Roundhouse is haunting.…

The National Youth Orchestra showed that they’re the equal of any professional band

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Everyone knows — don’t they? — that the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain is the UK’s youngest world-class symphony…

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…

Gorgeous but exhausting: Jurowski/LPO at Royal Festival Hall reviewed

9 December 2017 9:00 am

To get a flavour of Joseph Marx’s An Autumn Symphony, picture the confectionery counter in a grand Viennese café. Beneath…

Embarrassing – but electrifying: Bernstein 100 reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

‘There is something enviable about the utter lack of inhibition with which Leonard Bernstein carries on,’ wrote the critic of…

Hearts and minds

11 November 2017 9:00 am

Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune begins with a sigh: a long, languorous exhalation played on the lower notes of…

Irish ayes

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Luigi Cherubini is the pantomime villain of French romantic music. As head of the Paris Conservatoire in the 1820s he…

Les Vêpres siciliennes (image: ROH)

Mad Men – The Opera

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti begins not with a prelude, but a jingle. In Matthew Eberhardt’s production a trio of…

Pole position

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

Did you know that they used to make the Fiat 126 in the Eastern bloc? They did, apparently. There was…