Richard Bratby

Quietly devastating: Scottish Opera’s Pelléas and Mélisande reviewed

11 March 2017 9:00 am

‘Perhaps in this world nothing ever happens without purpose,’ sings old, blind King Arkel in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and…

Doing a disservice to a lovely opera: Angela Gheorghiu as Adriana Lecouvreur

Meet the opera conductor who’s marginally less popular than Donald Trump

18 February 2017 9:00 am

The story so far: in 1986 English National Opera hired Jonathan Miller to direct Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. The…

Spare us the gerontophilia

11 February 2017 9:00 am

Brahms didn’t always have a beard. The picture in the London Symphony Orchestra’s programme book showed him clean-shaven, and rightly.…

Why do we neglect this masterpiece? Opera North’s The Snow Maiden reviewed

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden has not received a professional staging in the UK for 60 years. Think about that for…

Has the subtlety of a howitzer: Royal Opera’s Der Rosenkavalier reviewed

7 January 2017 9:00 am

In Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March, the ageing Emperor Franz Joseph regrets the drab field-grey that has replaced his army’s…

Two terrific new operas – without an afterlife

12 November 2016 9:00 am

When Mozart was commissioned to write an opera for the coronation of Emperor Leopold II, he produced La clemenza di…

Nose job: Shostakovich’s ‘The Nose’ at the Royal Opera House

A terrifically good nose job: Royal Opera's The Nose reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

The Royal Opera’s latest production is Shostakovich’s The Nose and to paraphrase Mark Steyn, whatever else can be said about…

Sweet and sour: Ylva Kihlberg as the Marschallin and Helen Sherman as Octavian in Opera North’s ‘Rosenkavalier’

Is Opera North’s Rosenkavalier’s worth seeing? Certainly. Worth hearing? That’s trickier

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Shiny swags of gold cloth hang in front of the curtain before David McVicar’s production of Der Rosenkavalier, and that’s…

Not so Super Mario: Vito Priante as Figaro in ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ at the Royal Opera House

Near-ideal première from our boldest opera company: WNO’s Merchant of Venice reviewed

24 September 2016 9:00 am

Alas, poor André Tchaikowsky. A survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, with an assumed name that probably did his musical career…

Why Offenbach really was the 'Mozart of the Champs-Élysées'

3 September 2016 9:00 am

We don’t really do operetta in Britain these days — and at this stage in the game, I don’t really…

Grand visions: Birmingham’s Bull Ring shopping centre in 1965, a year after completion

Birmingham can be maddening – but culturally it has a lot to teach London

27 August 2016 9:00 am

On Saturday night, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra makes its first appearance at the BBC Proms under its new…

The opera for opera sceptics: Jenufa at Longborough reviewed

23 July 2016 9:00 am

What’s the best first opera for a sceptical adult first timer? It’s a favourite topic among opera buffs, and once…

Memo to directors: it’s not all about you: Beethoven’s Leonore reviewed

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Leonore is the first version of Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Stephen Medcalf thinks it’s better. ‘What Leonore gives us is more…

Fantastic Ms Fox: Elena Tsallagova as Vixen Sharp-Ears in ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’

Garsington Opera understands Eugene Onegin better than Tchaikovsky did

25 June 2016 9:00 am

Tchaikovsky knew what he thought of the title character of his Eugene Onegin. ‘I loved Tatyana, and was furiously indignant…

This new opera had the audience in tears

21 May 2016 9:00 am

‘So you’re going to see the gay sex opera?’ exclaimed my friend, open-mouthed. People certainly seem to have had some…

Scottish Opera could have a hit on its hands with this new Mikado

14 May 2016 9:00 am

You have to be quite silly to take Gilbert and Sullivan seriously. But even sillier not to. G&S is still…

The greatest British opera after Dido and Grimes? Vaughan Williams’s Riders to the Sea

2 April 2016 9:00 am

In a remote fishing village a lone figure confronts an unexplained death, standing tormented but unbroken against fate, the community…

WNO reminds us Figaro's a comedy – which is no bad thing

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Near the end of Elena Langer’s new opera Figaro Gets a Divorce, as the Almaviva household — now emigrés in…

World-weary rather than carefree: Peter Coleman-Wright as Papageno

Life-enhancing achievement: ENO's Magic Flute reviewed

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Centre stage, there’s an industrial-looking black platform, secured by cables. The Three Ladies snap the unconscious Tamino on a mobile…

Conductor and orchestra played as if in love: Royal Opera’s Eugene Onegin reviewed

9 January 2016 9:00 am

It’s scene five of Kasper Holten’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Michael Fabiano’s Lensky is alone with a snow-covered…

A devastating Jenufa - if you could hear it

5 December 2015 9:00 am

About 15 minutes into act one of Jenufa, the student in the next seat leaned over to her companions and…

Opera in Edinburgh: even the best Stravinsky can’t beat mediocre Mozart

22 August 2015 9:00 am

Is Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress anything more than an exercise in style? ‘I will lace each aria into a tight…