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.

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The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess, Cape Town Opera, London Coliseum

Behind poster images of iconic black crusaders - from Nelson Mandela to Steve Biko - the township that is Catfish Row is revving up for another day. And such is the pumping dynamism of the Cape Town Opera ensemble that you can barely hear George Gershwin’s tumultuous xylophone-driven prelude for the hollering and whistling.

Independent podcast: Stuart Skelton

How did a nice Australian boy with a penchant for Rugby and Formula One gain entry into that most exclusive of clubs - the rarefied world of Opera?

Le Nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

It’s the age of long hair and raging hormones, wide lapels and wider collars, the age of new found “permissiveness” where the world and his dog are gagging for some extra-curricular congress and the great and good are headed for their lavish Spanish villas with or without the wife.

Must See: Billy Budd, London Coliseum, WC2

A timeless tale honoured in a production for the ages

Billy Budd, English National Opera, London

The sight of Kim Begley's old and broken Captain Vere silently mouthing Billy Budd's death sentence as it is read out in the final scene of Britten's opera will be one of the enduring images of David Alden’s new English National Opera production.

La Bohème, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Glyndebourne

More Basildon than Bastille, David McVicar’s grungy staging of La Bohème heralded the new millennium amidst concrete and steel, fire hazards and fire escapes, chavs and chav nots, bringing our “bohemians” into the here and now with a cynical nod or two at our own struggling youth culture and the slightly surreal sensation of stepping in from tea at Glyndebourne’s Mildmay room to an urban jungle where the only splash of colour is a street poster for Bohème in, naturally, the style of the art nouveau period.

Independent podcast: Vasily Petrenko - Shostakovich

These two hugely contrasting symphonies come from the opposite ends of Shostakovich's life and career.

The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne Festival, Glyndebourne, East Sussex

It might be deduced that the only thing worse than working with children and animals would be working with children as animals. But Leoš Janáček was unfazed by the old Hollywood adage and his cartoon-strip derived opera The Cunning Little Vixen was spirited from page to stage with uncynical conviction and, it has to be said, no end of technical hazards.

Magdalena Kozena/ Mitsuko Uchida, Wigmore Hall, London

It’s extraordinary how the symbiosis of spirit and rightness of timbre between an artist and a composer can turn a recital around.

Magdalena Kozena/Mitsuko Uchida, Wigmore Hall, London

Too much flighty drama in mezzo-soprano's performance

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