baroque music

Meet the unrivalled Sun King of early music, William Christie

23 November 2019 9:00 am

Richard Bratby is granted an audience with the feisty master of early music William Christie, who’s celebrating 40 years with Les Arts Florissants

ENO's Jack the Ripper needs to decide if it wants to be a gore-fest or social history

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Is it possible to write a feminist opera about Jack the Ripper? Composer Iain Bell thinks it is, and his…

Sarah Tynan's mesmerising Lucia in ENO's Lucia di Lammermoor. Photo: John Snelling

Real psychological horror and a mesmerising heroine: ENO’s Lucia di Lammermoor reviewed

3 November 2018 9:00 am

How do you solve a problem like Lucia? Murder, madness, abuse, possibly even incest, all set to a soundtrack of…

OPERA
The ENO Chorus in Acis and Galatea. Photo: Dani Harvey

A fun evening that finished early enough for dinner – neither a given in Handel

23 June 2018 9:00 am

On a sward of AstroTurf somewhere off Silicon Roundabout, Mountain Media is hosting its summer party and, well, it’s the…

Detail of Cantata ‘Es ist das Heil’, BWV9

I don't get why people worship Bach

16 June 2018 9:00 am

I don’t get Johann Sebastian Bach. I mean, I get that he was good — no Mozart, sure, but definitely…

Time to ditch authenticity for early music Proms

12 August 2017 9:00 am

They say the first step towards recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So I’m staging an intervention and…

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world: Barbara Hannigan (Ophelia) and Allan Clayton (Hamlet) in Hamlet at Glyndebourne

Shattering climaxes and showstopping singing: Glyndebourne’s Hamlet reviewed

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Brett Dean’s new opera for Glyndebourne is a big-hearted romantic comedy, sunny and life-affirming. Only joking — this is contemporary…

Love Handel: Christine Rice (Juno), Heidi Stober (Semele) and Jurgita Adamonyte (Ino) in Semele at Garsington

First-rate musical performance & production: Garsington’s Semele reviewed

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Handel’s Semele, one of the most enjoyable operas (or opera-oratorio, if you insist) in the repertoire, is, in its upshot,…

Harpsichordists at war

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Harpsichordists are supposed to make love, not war: Sir Thomas Beecham famously compared the sound they make to ‘two skeletons…

Bach at its most bruising and gruff: Kyung Wha Chung at St George’s, Bristol, reviewed

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Coined in 1944, ‘completism’ is a modern term for a modern-day obsession. What began as a phenomenon of possession —…

Luther’s music had an even greater impact than his words

29 April 2017 9:00 am

It’s 500 years since Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, sparking…

A marvellous occasion – but could it not have been pruned? Il ritorno d’Ulisse reviewed

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Monteverdi 450 — the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists’ tour of his three operas to 33 cities across two…

This is how you reimagine Bach’s St John Passion

22 April 2017 9:00 am

‘The dripping blood our only drink/ The bloody flesh our only food…/ Again, in spite of that, we call this…

A ravishing Rameau premiere – pity the choreography was pure Bez

15 April 2017 9:00 am

The English weren’t the first cowpat composers. Jean-Philippe Rameau raised the art of frolicking in the fields to such heights…

Slyly surreal: Christopher Alden’s Partenope at ENO

Denial has rarely looked so good: ENO’s Partenope reviewed

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Ceci n’est pas une Partenope. Forget the warring classical kingdoms of Naples and Cumae: this is surrealist Paris in the…

‘Portrait of a Musician’, thought to be Claudio Monteverdi, c.1590, by a Cremonese artist

The true radical genius of Monteverdi is not in the operas but in the madrigals

18 February 2017 9:00 am

On his 450th anniversary, Alexandra Coghlan celebrates the composer’s remarkable musical prescience

The thrills are in the visuals: Philip Glass’s Les Enfants Terribles reviewed

4 February 2017 9:00 am

Kids: who’d have them? Certainly no one who has ever been to the opera. If they’re not murdering you, they’re…

Performing the Goldberg Variations on the piano involves too many compromises

1 October 2016 9:00 am

The churning, rheumatic mechanism of a harpsichord — notes needling your ears like drops of acid rain — doesn’t necessarily…

Does the great Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki think his audience will burn in hell?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Damian Thompson talks to the great Bach conductor — and strict Calvinist — Masaaki Suzuki

Can this year’s Gesualdo celebrations be about the music rather than the blood and gore?

2 January 2016 9:00 am

The allure of Carlo Gesualdo, eighth Count of Conza and third Prince of Venosa, has been felt by music-lovers from…

Anna Devin as Alcina and Nick Pritchard as Ruggiero in ‘La Liberazione di Ruggiero’ at Brighton Early Music Festival

Has there ever been a better time to be a lover of Baroque opera?

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Time was when early music was a 6 p.m. concert, Baroque began with Bach and ended with Corelli’s Christmas Concerto,…

The Baroque composer who was a world music pioneer

19 September 2015 8:00 am

On Private Passions this week the writer Amitav Ghosh gave us a refreshingly different version of what has become a…

Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Photo: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns)

Four of the best albums to write books by

8 August 2015 9:00 am

I have been writing a book this summer, in the usual mad tearing hurry. (Much as I admire those who…

Identity crisis: Rachele Gilmore as Alice

Alice in Wonderland at the Barbican reviewed: too much miaowing

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson loved little girls. He loved to tell them stories, he loved to feed them jam, he loved…

Does anyone have the balls to bring back castrati?

3 January 2015 9:00 am

One of the most complete bars to the authentic performance of both baroque opera and some renaissance polyphony is the…