How Claudio Abbado bridged old and new

Not long ago the great conductors of classical music were general practitioners. They expected to give satisfactory interpretations of music written from the beginnings of symphonic composition to the present day, and audiences took it for granted that, if they knew what they were doing with Mozart and Beethoven, they could be trusted with Handel

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All the fun of the fair | 30 January 2014

The Works on Paper annual fair runs from 6 to 9 February at the Science Museum. Its name is a bit of a giveaway: all art must be on paper. There is a huge range of work on display: early, modern and contemporary watercolours, prints, posters and photographs — from the late-15th century to the


Sam Mendes’s King Lear is a must-see for masochists

Directors appear to have two design options when approaching a Shakespeare tragedy. Woodstock or jackboot. Woodstock means papal robes, shoulder-length hair and silver Excaliburs gleaming from jewelled belts. Jackboot means pistols, berets, holsters and submachine-guns. Sam Mendes sticks the jackboot into King Lear in an attempt to find ‘a modern understanding of the story’, as


Your best YouTube operatic experience ever

Anyone who frequents the internet will have come across YouTube and soon learned that what may have been planned as a quick information-seeking visit turns into several happy hours, as tempting suggestions are made as to what you might also be interested in seeing; another thing leads to yet another; and that is the afternoon





Radio 3 needs to stay relevant, and world music is just the ticket

When my colleague Charles Moore first began accusing Radio 3 of becoming ‘babyish’, and talking down to us as if we’re too ignorant to understand anything complicated, I had to agree. The constant twittering between items, the gimmicky brainteasers and Classical Top Ten are irritating. Those emails and texts from clever-clogs listeners determined to show