There can hardly be a more appropriate work to display Simon Rattle’s talents than Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, with its combination of foreboding, wry parody of Ländler, cynically extrovert and sentimental take on orchestral romanticism and the final passive and very…

Bellini, Beatrice di Tenda Boito, Nerone Boughton, The Immortal Hour Busoni, Die Brautwahl Faure, Pénélope Massenet, La Navarraise Rimsky-Korsakov, The Legend of the Invisble City of Kitezh Spontini, La Vestale Strauss, Die Aegyptische Helena Wolf, Der Corregidor

Roland Schimmelpfenning’s play Winter Solstice, in the Actors Touring Company production seen at Scarborough, is an outstanding new play. Let me start with the content. A bickering couple, he a sociologist, she a filmmaker, are visited by her mother and…

Theatre at its creative best is a marvellous thing. Emma Rice’s production of Daniel Jamieson’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk now on a Kneehigh tour is just that. The biodrama of Marc Chagall and his wife Bella is by itself…

When Handel’s Riccardo Primo was performed in Hamburg in 1729 it was given in a version prepared by Telemann then active there and it was his version which was the leading event in this year’s Telemann festival at Magdeburg. Richard…

A trip to Annaberg-Buchholz for Carl Zeller’s Der Obersteiger. The former silver mining town is in a relatively remote part of East Germany near to the Czech border. Though small, it boasts a permanent opera company whose programme features much…

Franz Wittenbrink’s Sekretärinnen (Secretaries) has had an enormous success in German-speaking theatres since it was first performed in 1995. Best described as a musical revue, it contains no spoken text but a series of songs about women, their desires and…

Daniel-François-Esprit Auber was a highly successful composer of opéra-comique in the first half of the 19th century but today, outside francophone countries, his works are rarely performed. The current staging of Le domino noir at the Opéra Royal de Liège…

Word had got around that Olivier Py’s production of Dialogues des Carmélites originally mounted at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 2013, preserved for posterity on a DVD and recently revived, was not to be missed. Rumours of this kind are…

Gounod’s Philémon et Baucis is an enjoyable comic opera featuring the encounters between a Darby and Joan aged couple and Jupiter. While he is out to punish mortals for their bad behaviour he is treated by the couple with warm…

It is not easy to find performances of works by Glinka, father of Russian opera though he may be. So, I was pleased to have a chance to get to A Life for the Tsar, given in its original title…

Luigi Dallapiccola, a predominantly serialist composer who died in 1975, is no longer familiar to concert- and opera-going audiences but in the 1950s and 1960s his compositions were regularly performed, most notably his one act opera Il prigioniero, the subject…

With Götterdämmerung, the Leipzig Ring came to an end, and it is time to reflect not only on this performance but also on the cycle as a whole. As regards Ulf Schirmer and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, there is not…

About to experience the third episode in the Leipzig Ring, I was a little apprehensive. The First Act of Siegfried is my least favourite in the whole of the cycle primarily because of its racist content but also because I…

Evening Two of the Leipzig Ring – or, if one is to be pedantic, in Wagnerian terms the First Evening, following the Prologue (Rheingold). Die Walküre is certainly the most popular part of the cycle, perhaps because of its glorious…

Leipzig has strong associations with Wagner and a landmark centenary production of the Ring was given there by Joachim Herz, one of the then formidable East German directors. This was understandably a radical anti-capitalist, Marxist interpretation. For its more recent…

The Goat by Edward Albee at Haymarket Theatre London By brilliantly using the audience’s discomfiture with bestiality to explore the ambiguity between comedy and tragedy the play forces us to examine ourselves and our own set of values, moral and…

DIRECTORS Ivo van Hove: Salome, Amsterdam David Radok: Arsilda, Bratislava   DESIGNERS Christophe Ouvrard: Der Freischütz, Münster Falko Herold: Die Frau ohn Schatten, Linz   CONDUCTORS Markus Poschner: Die Frau ohn Schatten, Linz Lawrence Cummings, Lucio Silla, Buxton   SINGERS…

Because it is a comic, light piece, Cendrillon may not contain Massenet’s greatest music, but it has considerable charm, wit and warm lyricism; and it is surprising that it is does not have a regular place in the standard repertory….

The Fondazione Donizetti rightly considers it an important part of the function of its annual festival to unearth the composer’s rarities. But since he wrote over 70 operas, the chances are that some of these are not worth reviving and…