Benjamin Britten

Leo Jemison (Miles), Elen Willmer (Flora) and Sophie Bevan (Governess) in The Turn of the Screw at Garsington Opera

Deft, elegant and genuinely chilling: Garsington’s Turn of the Screw reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Think of the children in opera. Not knowing sopranos and mezzos, pigtailed and pinafored or tightly trousered-up to look child-like,…

Credit: RoBeDeRo

The mosque where it’s the men who make the tea

18 May 2019 9:00 am

On returning from a brief trip to Istanbul, where inside the mosques women are still very much kept to one…

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the LSO at the Barbican

Rattle’s recapitulation: LSO/Simon Rattle at Barbican reviewed

22 September 2018 9:00 am

A pregnant silence, a peaty belch from the tuba, and the scrape of brass on brass as gears lock into…

Chorus of approval: the ENO chorus gives it the full Broadway, triple threats to a man, in Benjamin Britten’s Paul Bunyan (Photo: Genevieve Girling)

Often baffling but ultimately entertaining: Britten’s Paul Bunyan reviewed

15 September 2018 9:00 am

‘I feel I have learned lots about what not to write for the theatre…’ There’s a prevailing idea that the…

Pat and Richard Nixon in ENO’s 2006 production of John Adams’s Nixon in China

The woman who changed the direction of opera

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on the woman who changed the direction of opera

Hellbound: Christopher Maltman in Ivan Fischer’s new Don Giovanni for Edinburgh

The best Peter Grimes I’ve ever seen

19 August 2017 9:00 am

‘Peter Grimes!’ Ranked high above us in the Usher Hall — a mob smelling blood, hot for the kill —…

Social comedy at its most lovingly, evocatively drawn: Albert Herring at Buxton Festival reviewed

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Someone at the Buxton International Festival had a wry smile on their face when programming this year’s trio of operas.…

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…

‘We definitely do not live in an avant-garde era’: Pierre-Laurent Aimard interview

11 June 2016 9:00 am

A decade ago, the French pianist and poly-math Pierre-Laurent Aimard announced that he was ‘very bored to live in a…

The serried ranks of an El Sistema youth orchestra in Caracas, 2012 — a ‘miracle’ that’s turned very sour

Sex, lies and El Sistema

6 December 2014 9:00 am

An explosive new book uncovers abuse at the heart of one of classical music’s most revered institutions. Damian Thompson investigates

Britten’s worldwide reputation is enhanced in Lyon

26 April 2014 9:00 am

One of the proudest boasts to come from Britten HQ in Aldeburgh during the composer’s anniversary last year was that…

Clean-voiced and suave: Mark Wilde as the balladeer Jonny Inkslinger in‘Paul Bunyan’

Why is Tippett's King Priam so difficult to love?

1 March 2014 9:00 am

The difference between lovable, likable and admirable is perhaps more significant in the operatic world than in other artistic spheres…

A century before Miley Cyrus, it was male performers — like Nijinsky — who bared all 

7 December 2013 9:00 am

While the airwaves resonate with celebrations of Britten’s birth, I cannot help thinking that what was happening in Paris at…

Alexander Chancellor: A slice of Italy in Milton Keynes

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Back home from a week in Italy, I almost feel that I haven’t left. For I go almost at once…

What Jackie did after JFK was assassinated

23 November 2013 9:00 am

A surfeit of anniversaries this week reminded us that on the day of President Kennedy’s assassination, C.S. Lewis (born 1898)…

If 'Greek' is playing within 200 miles of where you live — watch it

2 November 2013 9:00 am

This week chanced to give me a fascinating study in contrasts and comparisons: Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek at the Linbury Studio,…

Crime, corruption and sadism? No, the real Sweden is stunning - as I have discovered

11 May 2013 9:00 am

I am on my first ever visit to Sweden and enjoying it greatly. My idea of this country had recently…