A bleeding, inch-thick hunk of verismo sirloin: Royal Opera’s Cav and Pag reviewed

One legacy of lockdown in the classical music world has been the sheer length of the 21-22 season. In a typical year, most orchestras and urban opera companies would be winding down by mid-May. Not this time: after two years of postponements, and with lost income to recoup, seasons are stretching out like the finale of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. Rumour maintains that audiences are being stretched too thinly, and although it’d be naive to infer anything fundamental from a smattering of vacant seats, it did feel surprising to see empty patches for the first night of the Royal Opera’s Cav and Pag. Absent Kaufmaniacs, disappointed by Jonas’s latest no-show? (He

What motivates Peter Thiel apart from the desire for more wealth?

If you’ve only heard one thing about Peter Thiel (and many have heard nothing at all) it is that he is a believer in the power of young blood. The tech multibillionaire and founding investor of the surveillance company Palantir is a public advocate of parabiosis, an experimental field of biology investigating whether transfusions of blood from young people to older ones can stall or even reverse ageing. Rumours that Thiel himself has received such transfusions have persisted for years. When asked about them directly in a rare interview, he replied simply: ‘I’m not a vampire.’ Max Chafkin’s The Contrarian makes for deeply uncomfortable reading. This meticulous biography of big