The string sections plays during the first night of the Proms, 2014

Prom 10, Prom 12 - review: Tasmin Little unearths a violin concerto as Roger Norrington travesties the St John Passion

Every year the Proms bring out forgotten works by mid-twentieth-century British composers, and one is often forced to ask why. The official justification is always the same – ‘we felt it deserved a hearing’ – but with some music the expensive road-test of a Prom is pointless, because everyone who can read a score – or judge by an archive recording - knows in advance that it will fail.

The string sections plays during the first night of the Proms, 2014

Prom 7 and Prom 9, review: John Tavener's Gnosis has perfect vocal-instrumental balance

In Gnosis, John Tavener has left a posthumous mystical love-letter which, though small in scale, carves out a large space in the mind. Mezzo Sarah Connolly and alto flautist Michael cox were the soloists, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jiri Belohlavek laying down a carpet of strings and percussion beneath them; the vocal-instrumental balance was perfect throughout.

A scene from the first Prom, 2014

Prom 1: The Kingdom, Prom 2: China Philharmonic - review

The beginning of the 2014 BBC Proms season was also the end of an era, as Roger Wright officially ended his time in charge. Rather than go out with fanfares however, Wright’s final night was all muted glow and quiet nostalgia.

La Traviata performed at Glyndebourne

La traviata, Glyndebourne, review: Fresh and thrillingly unfamiliar

A Traviata that glances to the past while stepping resolutely into opera’s emotional and dramatic future

Maria Stuarda at the Royal Opera House

Maria Stuarda, Royal Opera House, review: Joyce DiDonato is transcendent

One always expects high style from the directing duo Leiser and Caurier, and the opening moments of their new Maria Stuarda are both arresting and puzzling.

La Finta Giardiniera, Glyndebourne, opera review: 'Emerges with irresistible charm'

The action is allowed to float free of time and place

Ariadne auf Naxos, Royal Opera House, review: 'An assured take on Strauss’s teasing amalgam of high-flown tragedy and ribald comedy'

Christoph Loy’s serenely assured take on Strauss’s teasing amalgam of high-flown tragedy and ribald comedy is proving one of the most enduringly enjoyable productions in the Covent Garden repertory; the razzmatazz of the Prologue, with its grand to-and-fro between upstairs and downstairs, gives way to an operatic staging whose elegance perfectly matches the restrained beauty of the score.

The Cunning Little Vixen, Garsington Opera, review: Over-busy, but with outstanding singers

The three leads are 'magnificent' but the dance diffuses the dramatic focus

Kristine Opolais as Manon Lescaut and Jonas Kaufmann as Chevalier dex Grieux

Manon Lescaut, Royal Opera House, review: 'Radiates a very modern sleaziness'

Flamboyantly designed by Paul Brown, Jonathan Kent’s production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut could not be more different from Laurent Pelly’s daintily stylised Belle Epoque version of Massenet’s take on the story which we saw in the same house four months ago.

Owen Wingrave, Aldeburgh Festival, opera review: 'Brilliant pianism'

Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave has always been regarded as problematic. Composed for television in 1969, it drew its pacifist inspiration from Britten’s experiences as a conscientious objector in 1942, and from the peace movement provoked by the Vietnam war.

La fanciulla del west, Holland Park Opera, review

Updating things by a century, director Stephen Barlow has bust a gut to put a new spin on Puccini’s gold-rush opera.

Fidelio, Garsington Opera review: 'Viscerally powerful'

The directorially tricky denouement generates real excitement

Vert-Vert, Garsington Opera, review: 'Exuberant virtuosity takes the breath away'

Most forgotten operas are forgotten with good reason, but the Offenbach operetta which conductor David Parry has exhumed for Garsington is a delightful discovery.

Benvenuto Cellini, London Coliseum, opera review: 'Curiously drained of energy'

'Everything becomes a cue for just another panto sight-gag'

Nabucco, Welsh National Opera, review: 'A stupendous chorus and excellent cast'

See opera that shot Verdi to fame at Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre

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