Proms

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…

Kirill Petrenko conducting the Berlin Philharmonic at the 2018 Proms. Photo: BBC/Chris Christodoulou

The gentle side of Bruckner: Rotterdam Philharmonic's Prom reviewed

8 September 2018 9:00 am

The lady behind me on Kensington Gore clearly felt that she owed her friend an apology: ‘It’s Bruckner. I don’t…

Jozsefs Lendvai and Lendvay with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra at the Proms. Image: BBC/Chris Christodoulos

The Budapest Festival Orchestra makes other orchestras look routine and oafish

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Looney Tunes was always at its best when soundtracked by a Hungarian gypsy dance. (Watch ‘Pigs in a Polka’ if…

A Beggar’s Opera that beggars belief in Edinburgh

25 August 2018 9:00 am

Robert Carsen’s new updating of The Beggar’s Opera is a coke-snorting, trash-talking, breakdancing, palm-greasing, skirt-hiking, rule-breaking affair — and every…

Before the dawn: Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Dan Godfrey, Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Sir Charles Stanford, seated. Standing: Sir Edward German and Sir Hubert Parry. Bournemouth Centenary Festival, 1910

Music's Brexit

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Only by ignoring European taste, and daring to be vulgar, did British music finally come of age, argues Richard Bratby

An embarrassing and misshapen dud: Opera Holland Park’s Isabeau reviewed

21 July 2018 9:00 am

I’ve been trying to pinpoint the exact moment when it became impossible to take Mascagni’s Isabeau seriously. It wasn’t when…

The marketisation of BBC radio is a recipe for creative disaster

21 July 2018 9:00 am

There’s been a lot of fuss and many column inches written about levels of pay at the BBC, as revealed…

Bruckner’s Ninth is one of the greatest musical works – and also the most baffling

9 September 2017 9:00 am

The two Proms concerts given on consecutive evenings by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra were well planned: a short opening work,…

Mahler said his time would come – the question now, for me, is when it will go

8 July 2017 9:00 am

When I began listening to music seriously, in about 1950, I had read about Mahler but wasn’t able to hear…

Vocal authority: Mandla Mndebele as Mandela and Siphamandla Yakupa as Winnie in ‘Mandela Trilogy’

For a good man, Nelson Mandela has inspired a lot of really bad art – here’s some more

10 September 2016 9:00 am

They say that the devil gets all the best tunes, and on the basis of this week’s opera-going it would…

The women who were paid to sing for the dead in Ireland

20 August 2016 9:00 am

‘We think we’re in charge of this stuff but we’re not,’ said Quincy Jones, the composer, arranger, jazz trumpeter, musical…

If you want to know how music really works listen to Classic FM not Radio 3

7 May 2016 9:00 am

He’s been billed as the new Pied Piper but it’s going to take a while for Tom Service to quite…

Orchestral conductors would be much better if they tried performing Renaissance music

5 September 2015 9:00 am

To be honest, my friendship with Michael Tilson Thomas hasn’t gone quite as I had hoped. It started in February…

Why are symphony orchestras expected to survive indefinitely?

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Watching the Berlin Philharmonic going into conclave to choose a successor to Simon Rattle — after countless hours of secret…

Tony Hall’s diary: the Proms, my walking obsession, and why the BBC is like James Bond

25 July 2015 9:00 am

There’s nothing quite like a First Night — and last Friday we launched the Proms, the most celebrated classical music…

The Proms is taxpayers’ money well spent: it’s a national asset like fish and chips and the royal baby

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Make no mistake: the Proms, whose 2015 season was launched last night, would not, could not, exist without the BBC,…

New works at the Proms that some would rather dernière than première

11 July 2015 9:00 am

This year the Proms are to stage 21 world premières and 11 European, UK or London premières. It is good…

I fear for this year’s Proms

6 June 2015 9:00 am

As Sepp Blatter has so affectingly remarked, the organisation he formerly headed needs evolution, not revolution. There is a consensus…

Michael Tanner: Why I prefer Donizetti to Strauss

13 September 2014 9:00 am

Three operas this week, each of them named after its (anti-)heroine: one of the heroines (the most sympathetic) murders her…

Enough ‘themes’ at festivals

6 September 2014 9:00 am

One might have expected the streets of Edinburgh, especially at festival time, to bear some evidence of the political struggle…

Does Radio 3 need a new controller?

26 July 2014 9:00 am

Where next for Radio 3? Last Friday was the First Night of this year’s Proms season but it was the…

Roger Wright's legacy at Radio Three – and his one big mistake

5 July 2014 9:00 am

Roger Wright’s precipitate departure from both Radio Three and the Proms came as a surprise. At first the news was…

I could be dead soon. What should I listen to?

24 May 2014 9:00 am

If I live as long as my father, I’ll be checking out on 9 December 2017. Since every man in…

Goodbye, Claudio Abbado. You helped us glimpse eternity

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Fellini’s credo ‘the visionary is the only true realist’ could also be applied to the life of Claudio Abbado, who…

A world-class orchestra in the heart of São Paulo’s Crackland

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Damian Thompson visits Brazil to hear Marin Alsop whip São Paulo’s orchestra into shape