More from Arts

Heroic success

How should opera, and particular operas, be made ‘relevant’? And what kind of relevance, anyway, should they try to achieve? The questions are too big to answer in a brief review, but Birmingham Opera Company’s largely magnificent production of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria heroically attempts to cope with them. Using the highly individual

Visual agility

It is difficult to place oneself in the position of the pioneers of graphic art shown at the Estorick Collection: their extraordinary leaps of the imagination have become the standard vocabulary; the shift from old to new they represent now distant history. Born in the 19th century when 90 per cent of human understanding came

Welsh legacy

Conwy in north Wales is among the most enchanting of our small towns. It’s like a toy fort, its encircling walls surviving intact until Thomas Telford had to breach them for his bridge. He did it elegantly, even delicately, creating a suspension bridge that actually enhanced the little town. It was for our brutal, automanic

Death in Venice

When you are so addicted to writers’ works and feel bereft after finishing all their novels, you become restless and fretful. It happened to me last year with the Aurelio Zen detective novels of Michael Dibdin, as I lamented in The Spectator Diary column. Zen is the Italian policeman who is sent to different parts

Sonic shambles

The television broadcasts of the late Pope’s funeral and the marriage of Prince Charles, coming as they did on consecutive days, gave the opportunity to compare two different styles of choral singing at their most typical. Of course I am going to go on to say that the British version, as represented on that occasion

Revelation of space and time

Andrew Lambirth on an exhibition by one of the country’s foremost sculptors Forms in Light and Shade, an exhibition of Nigel Hall’s new work at Annely Juda Fine Art (23 Dering Street, W1, until 14 May), confirms him as one of our foremost sculptors, who has received too little official recognition in his country of