More from Arts

Tale of the unexpected

The Royal Opera’s new season began with a nice big surprise: Donizetti’s last opera, Dom Sébastien, roi de Portugal, written for Paris in 1843, shortly before his fatal syphilitic illness set in. Far from there being any traces of failing powers, it strikes me as the strongest serious opera he wrote, even though it has

Yorkshire grit

The second half of Harvest, Richard Bean’s new play about four generations of a Yorkshire farming family, opens with the main character, William Harrison, sitting by himself and listening to the wireless. Suddenly, we hear the opening theme music of The Archers and, without hesitating, he leans over and switches it off. Harvest is full

Chillier view

A publisher has just reprinted, in time for its centenary, H.E. Marshall’s Our Island Story (Galore Park, £19.99), which in its day was the immensely successful ‘History of Britain for Boys and Girls, from the Romans to Queen Victoria’. I’m old enough to remember this from first time round — it went through many editions

Climate change

All my working life, I have been adapting to climate change. As an apprentice in a garden near Antwerp in the summer of 1976, I spent the early mornings and evenings (we could not work in the day since the temperatures topped 40?C) trying to save the languishing, but famous, collection of rhododendrons, by watering

French connection

Much trumpeted as the first exhibition to explore together the lives of Horatio Nelson and Napoleon Bonaparte, Nelson & Napoleon at once raises the double question of was it a good idea and does it work? This crowded display is a qualified success, with an audiovisual presentation which re-enacts the Battle of Trafalgar every five