A terrific night of opera: Zanetto/Orfeo ed Euridice, Arcola Theatre, reviewed

For a one-hit composer, we hear rather a lot of Pietro Mascagni. His reputation rests on his 1890 debut Cavalleria Rusticana, the one-act Sicilian shocker that’s usually yoked (not always to its advantage) to Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. But in recent years we’ve also seen the cod-medieval car crash of Isabeau, and a couple of outings for Iris, an opera that fuses orientalist opulence with tentacle porn, but not in a good way. In fairness, there have been winners too: Opera Holland Park revived L’amico Fritz in July, and this sun-kissed romcom about an Alsatian cherry farmer slipped down like a Negroni with audiences thirsty for a strong, sweet triple-shot of escapism,

From bad joke to 21st-century classic: the best recordings of Korngold’s Violin Concerto

Erich Korngold was what you might call an early adopter. As a child prodigy in Habsburg Vienna, he’d astonished the world: a schoolboy composing orchestral scores that made Elektra sound tame. Jump ahead three decades, and Korngold, in his fashion, was still ahead of the curve. He was one of the first residents of Toluca Lake, North Hollywood, to buy a television. There wasn’t much to watch in 1947, but (according to Korngold’s biographer Brendan Carroll) Jascha Heifetz would drive over anyway from Beverly Hills, and the two exiles — the former protégé of Gustav Mahler, and the greatest violinist on earth — would sit there glued to the live