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Edward Seckerson

Writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson is Chief Classical Music and Opera Critic for The Independent. He wrote and presented the long-running BBC Radio 3 series Stage & Screen, in which he interviewed many of the most prominent writers and stars of musical theatre. He appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 and 4. On television, he has commentated a number of times at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He has published books on Mahler and the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and has been on Gramophone Magazine's review panel for many years. Edward presented the 2007 series of the Radio 4 music quiz Counterpoint. He has interviewed everyone from Leonard Bernstein to Liza Minelli; from Paul McCartney to Pavarotti: from Julie Andrews to Jessye Norman.

Verdi Otello, Royal Opera House, London

It is the most resplendent of vocal fanfares that brings Otello to the stage in Verdi’s wonderful opera and Aleksandrs Antonenko - the latest in a most distinguished lineage (including Vickers and Domingo) to have strode into the tempest-tossed opening of Elijah Moshinsky’s ageless staging - at once raised the temperature in the house cleaving the air with his trumpet-toned delivery.

Opera of the Week: La Bohème, Royal Opera House, London

Not just another revival of a venerable old staging but its 25th showing in the 50th year of director John Copley's work at the Royal Opera House. Julia Trevelyan Oman's grandly designed Bohème is what used to pass for social realism at the opera.

Independent Classical Podcast: Elin Manahan Thomas

Elin Manahan Thomas' lovely voice has graced two of the finest specialist choirs in the world: John Eliot Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir and Harry Christophers' The Sixteen. It's a voice born to embrace the pure and ornate lines of pre-18th century music though this engaging Welsh singer rejoices in musical diversity wherever it comes from.

Independent Classical Podcast: Julian Lloyd Webber

Julian Lloyd Webber has built himself an enviable reputation as one of music's most diligent explorers, refreshing parts of the repertoire that others choose to ignore while encouraging the best of new and established talents to extend and enhance the cello repertoire.

Barbican classical podcast: Richard Egarr

The Academy Of Ancient Music has been at the forefront of the period instrument revolution for almost four decades. When Christopher Hogwood founded the group in 1973, the idea that we really could go back and through an informed awareness of style and faithful deployment of original instruments, rekindle the shock-of-the-new effect — the passion and vitality of great 17th and 18th masterworks —  was greeted with a mixture of excitement and scepticism.

Independent Podcast: Opera Rara

For almost 40 years Opera Rara has been a record label with a mission: to rediscover and rejuvenate neglected operatic repertoire from the 19th century in such a way as to bring it back into public consciousness with flair and fervour.