Jaap van Zweden

Jaap van Zweden

With the release of Götterdämmerung on Naxos Records this month, the completion of the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s Ring cycle has transformed the fortunes not only of the orchestra but also of its maestro, Jaap van Zweden. Ashutosh Khandekar discovers how Wagner’s music has taken the accomplishments of orchestra and conductor to new heights, putting Asia on the map as a Wagnerian force to be reckoned with


by Andrew Mello

A weelend in Copenhagen

Northern edge

by Andrew Mellor

Scandinavia is admired for its first-class operatic infrastructure, but behind the gleaming new opera houses is a fascinating cohort of fringe companies that take the art form very seriously indeed.

The art of living

A technological trick or a breathtaking 21st-century homage to a great artist? Francis Muzzu finds out how the latest hologram technology is allowing today’s audiences to see Callas performing ‘live’ in theatres around the world

Montserrat Caballé

by Benjamin Ivry

Montserrat Caballé (1933-2018) presented audiences with a bundle of contradictions in the opera house – a singer who rarely looked or acted the part, but also a misunderstood artist whose gloriously expressive voice transcended every challenge that stood in the way of its superb beauty

Balancing act

Soprano Madeleine Pierard is a founding member of the new charity organisation SWAP’ra – Supporting Women and Parents in Opera. She describes her own experience of bringing up her two daughters in a working ‘opera family’

Life support

by Michael White

The legacy of a generous benefactor has completely turned around the fortunes of British Youth Opera. Michael White finds out how the windfall will help to expand the reserves of opera-related talent and skills in the UK

Children’s hour

by Ann Barkway

Ann Barkway introduces the latest work of Jubilee Opera, a company that demonstrates the positive impact of opera on small communities, encouraging youngsters to switch off their iPads and engage in some real storytelling

Marlis Petersen

German soprano Marlis Petersen’s compelling portrayals on the operatic stage have, in recent years, been complemented by imaginative programmes of song. Her latest project is a trilogy entitled Dimensions, viewing our experiences of the world from different perspectives and exploring the mysteries of the soul

Joan Rodgers

by Helen Charlston

Internationally renowned soprano Joan Rodgers is a patron and mentor on the City Music Foundation’s Artist Programme, which supports professional musicians in the early stages of their career. She shares some of her vast experience of the singing profession with Helen Charlston, a 25-year-old mezzo soprano with a promising future, who is among a new intake of artists on the programme this term

Salome, Strauss

by Tom Sutcliffe · illustrations: Catherine Ashmore

English National Opera says its autumn season has been programmed to explore ‘patriarchal structures – the world of French philosopher Catherine Clément’s 1979 book, L’Opéra ou la défaite des femmes’ (published in English as Opera: the Undoing of Women)

Porgy and Bess, Gershwin

by Robert Thicknesse · illustrations: Tristram Kenton

It’s more than 25 years since Trevor Nunn revived his Glyndebourne production at Covent Garden (though Nunn produced a snappier ‘musical’ version at the Savoy in 2006). This staging by James Robinson, artistic director of St Louis Opera, is the first ever at ENO

Tosca, Puccini

by Anthony Arblaster · illustrations: Richard Hubert Smith

Opera North’s touring repertory this autumn is quite a crowd-pleasing affair of two popular favourites: a revival of Lehár’s Merry Widow and a powerful new production of Tosca featuring some familiar faces for audiences in the north of England

International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival

by George Hall


Rigoletto, Verdi

by Sarah McCleave · illustrations: Patrick Redmond

For Verdi’s jester Rigoletto, life is no laughing matter. Condemned by his hunchbacked condition to serve a dissolute Mantuan court, this widower directs his considerable capacity for love at his teenaged daughter Gilda, whom he desperately attempts to shield from the world – not least his lascivious master

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