Classical

Even Nelsons’s miscalculations are fascinating: Leipzig Gewandhaus/Andris Nelsons, at the Barbican, reviewed

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Imagine growing up with a whole orchestra as your plaything. Richard Strauss’s father was the principal horn of the Munich…

Too affectionate, not enough cruelty: Don Pasquale, at the Royal Opera House, reviewed

14 May 2022 9:00 am

There are many things to enjoy in the Royal Opera’s revival of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, but perhaps the most surprising…

Igor Levit deserved his standing ovation; Shostakovich, even more so

16 April 2022 9:00 am

Music and politics don’t mix, runs the platitude. Looks a bit tattered now, doesn’t it? For Soviet musicians, of course,…

A spirited attempt to fix a show that’s never really flown: Utopia, Limited reviewed

9 April 2022 9:00 am

Utopia, Limited (1893) is a rare bird, and one that every Gilbert and Sullivan completist simply has to bag. The…

Pitch-black satire drenched in an atmosphere of compelling unease: ETO's Golden Cockerel reviewed

2 April 2022 9:00 am

Blame it on Serge Diaghilev. Rimsky-Korsakov died in 1908 and never saw the première of his last opera, The Golden…

Spot-on in almost every way: Scottish Opera's A Midsummer Night’s Dream reviewed

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Scottish Opera’s new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems to open in midwinter. Snow falls, fairies hurl snowballs…

Astonishing, if unnecessary, grandstanding: Barbara Hannigan's La voix humaine reviewed

12 March 2022 9:00 am

I think it was when she leaned forward and balanced on one leg that Barbara Hannigan jumped the shark. It…

The genius of Iannis Xenakis

5 March 2022 9:00 am

This year is the centenary of the birth of Iannis Xenakis, the Greek composer-architect who called himself an ancient Greek…

Deserves to become an ENO staple: The Cunning Little Vixen reviewed

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Spoiler alert. The last words in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen come from a child playing a frog. The story…

Clear, complex and gripping: Opera North's Rigoletto reviewed

29 January 2022 9:00 am

Say what you like about that Duke of Mantua, but he’s basically an OK sort of bloke. A bit of…

Not pleasant, and not in tune, but unarguably compelling: Royal Opera's Nabucco reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Nabucco, said Giuseppe Verdi, ‘was born under a lucky star’. It was both his last throw of the dice and…

A booster shot of sunlight: Unsuk Chin's new violin concerto reviewed

15 January 2022 9:00 am

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra began the year with a world première. Unsuk Chin’s Second Violin Concerto…

Business as usual

8 January 2022 9:00 am

It’s 2022 and classical music is, again, dead. It’d be surprising if it wasn’t. In 2014 the New Yorker published…

Modernism's back, baby: Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival reviewed

11 December 2021 9:00 am

It’s not everyone’s idea of fun, a trip to Huddersfield in the depths of November. But as any veteran of…

In defence of the earworm

4 December 2021 9:00 am

That strain again… it’s the morning after the concert and one tune is still there, playing in the head upon…

40 per cent sublime, 60 per cent ridiculous: ENO's The Valkyrie reviewed

27 November 2021 9:00 am

It’s the final scene of The Valkyrie and Wotan is wearing cords. They’re a sensible choice for a hard-working deity:…

Hockney’s Rake’s Progress remains one of the supreme achievements

20 November 2021 9:00 am

With Glyndebourne’s The Rake’s Progress, the show starts with David Hockney’s front cloth. The colour, the ingenuity, the visual bravura:…

Very much NSFW: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet/Quatuor Danel at Wigmore Hall reviewed

30 October 2021 9:00 am

‘Drammatico’, wrote César Franck over the opening of his Piano Quintet, and you’d better believe he meant it. The score…

See it while it’s still hot: Royal Opera's Rigoletto reviewed

2 October 2021 9:00 am

In Oliver Mears’s new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, the curtain rises on a work of art. The stage is in…

The best recordings of the Goldberg Variations

2 October 2021 9:00 am

I sometimes think the classical record industry would collapse if it weren’t for the Goldberg Variations. Every month brings more…

A lockdown masterpiece and the Jessica Rabbit of concertos: contemporary classical roundup

25 September 2021 9:00 am

So it finally happened: I experienced my first vocal setting of the word ‘Covid’. An encounter that was, inevitably, more…

A terrific night of opera: Zanetto/Orfeo ed Euridice, Arcola Theatre, reviewed

18 September 2021 9:00 am

For a one-hit composer, we hear rather a lot of Pietro Mascagni. His reputation rests on his 1890 debut Cavalleria…

Opera della Luna is a little miracle: Curtain Raisers at Wilton’s Music Hall reviewed

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Arthur Sullivan knew better than to mess with a winning formula. ‘Cox and Box, based on J. Maddison Morton’s farce…

Exuberance and class: Ariadne auf Naxos at Edinburgh International Festival reviewed

4 September 2021 9:00 am

For some reason, I’d got it into my head that the main work in the Gringolts Quartet’s midday recital at…

The central performances are tremendous: Glyndebourne's Luisa Miller, reviewed

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Opera buffs enjoy their jargon. We all do it, scattering words like ‘spinto’ and ‘Fach’ like an enthusiastic pizza waiter…