Running in the Clouds: A tune with a view

Bring the Lake District into the concert hall! The challenge – issued by the BBC Philharmonic's general manager Richard Wigley to the composer Maurizio Malagnini – sounds startling at the very least. Its result, though, is a new concert suite, Running in the Clouds, commissioned by BBC Radio 3, and receiving its world premiere tomorrow.

Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins: Hannibal hits the high notes with a classic performance

The Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins has composed a collection of classical works. Many of the pieces are inspired by memories of his childhood in south Wales, he tells Jessica Duchen

Jessica Duchen: This institution represents the Big Apple's cultural core

It is a sorry state of affairs when an opera company resorts to locking out its own performers – and the once vibrant and innovative New York City Opera (NYCO) is looking like barely a rump of its former self.

Drive time: 'I used to do a lot of driving between Birmingham and London,' says Margherita Taylor. 'I needed to listen to something to help me unwind, and Classic FM was a breath of fresh air'

Twenty years of Brahms & Liszt: Meet the Classic FM DJs who have made fugues funky

For decades, classical music was considered fusty and exclusive. One broadcaster has changed all that.

Russian composer Sergey Sergeyevich Prokofiev circa 1925

Sergei Prokofiev: Beyond 'Peter and the Wolf' – the rehabilitation of Stalin's composer

Prokofiev followed 'the bitch goddess success' back to Soviet Moscow – or so the story goes. Think again, Vladimir Jurowski tells Andrew Stewart

Four's company: The Kronos Quartet is to play Black Angels at London's Hackney Empire

Tuning up for fun and games at the Cultural Olympiad

They are in athletic mood at the Proms and in opera, but you might need your thermals...

Love cheat: Uma Thurman and Robert Pattinson in 'Bel Ami'

2012: The unmissable cultural treats

Next year promises to be a cultural jamboree, with world-class films, art exhibitions, gigs and theatre performances around the country. Our critics select the most exciting highlights

Simon Rattle illuminated Mahler with the Berlin Phil at the Royal Festival Hall 

Arts review of 2011 - Classical: Just when you think you've heard it all...

Yes, concert halls and opera houses worked their socks off, but there was thrilling music in a car park and off the beaten track

Trim tenor Toby Spence is back on song

It never hurts an performerto have a little self-love. Take tenor Toby Spence, limbering up to sing the youthful David in the revival of Graham Vick's excellent production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Covent Garden. David is not a crucial role in the drama, but a very crucial one in the musical fabric. "As Tony Pappano said to me," Spence explains, "he's the bubbles in the champagne – a charming, youthful spirit, a teenager. Unlike the other characters he doesn't take himself seriously. When he appears, the message to the audience is that they can sit back and relax."

Popular classics: Mexican singer Rolando Villazón

Rolando Villazón - Why variety is the spice of life for this top tenor

Opera star Rolando Villazón is relishing his royal turn on TV, he tells Jessica Duchen

John Wilson

Cultural Life: John Wilson, Conductor

Theatre 'Lend Me a Tenor' at London's Gielgud Theatre. It's hilarious from start to finish. Just what a musical comedy should be. Stunning score and terrific performances. A real shame that it closed so soon because nobody went to see it!

In the line of ire: David Dimbleby, Nick Griffin and Bonnie Greer on 'Question Time'

Yes: From total discord to sweet harmony

Bonnie Greer's television run-in with Nick Griffin didn't just provoke feverish debate – it was also the catalyst for a new opera

Lost gems sparkle at Wexford Opera Festival

Behind a modest terrace on Wexford's high street, a state-of-the-art opera house opens up like a tardis. Since the 1950s the annual Wexford Opera Festival has been a fixture in the international opera calendar. Some of the world's greatest singers have made their debuts here; and forgotten gems have been rediscovered.

Battle songs: The Somme

Requiem for an art form: Why modern composers are fighting a losing battle

War has always inspired great music, says Jessica Duchen, but since 9/11 classical has fallen behind pop in a world racked by conflict

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