The Year in Review: Best classical & opera of 2010

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Eugene Onegin/Bolshoi Opera

Royal Opera House, London

Dmitri Tcherniakov's revelatory staging of this much-loved opera totally rethought the piece from both human and social perspectives. Brace yourselves for his forthcoming Simon Boccanegra at ENO.

Bernstein Mass/Marin Alsop

Royal Festival Hall, London

The South Bank's Leonard Bernstein Project culminated in two terrific performances of what has to be the composer's masterpiece. It still divides opinions, but it's a rich celebration of music's power to heal divisions – social, political, and religious.

Billy Budd


Michael Grandage's operatic debut was a triumph, thrillingly conducted by Mark Elder and boasting a touching performance in the title role from rising star Jacques Imbrailo.

Beethoven Piano Concertos/ Paul Lewis

BBC Proms

The young British pianist Paul Lewis went head to head this year with the great Daniel Barenboim and made an indelible impression with his poised and insightful Proms performances of all five Beethoven Concertos. Few understand better than he the delicate balance between Beethoven the classicist and Beethoven the visionary.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski/Vasily Petrenko

There's nothing to separate my two outstanding symphonic performances of the year, both featuring the LPO at the top of its game. Jurowski's inspirational account of Mahler's pantheistic 3rd Symphony was awesome in the truest sense of the word, while Petrenko's debut with the orchestra took the roof off with Shostakovich's great revolutionary 11th Symphony "The Year 1905". I'm still reeling from both.