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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Philharmonia Orchestra/ Davis, Royal Festival Hall

The occasion was Delius' 150th birthday but more broadly it was a celebration of Englishness.

Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier, English National Opera

For those of us who believe (and don’t we all) that Octavian should end up with his true love – as opposed to his “fairy tale” romance – and live out his days with the Feldmarschallin, Maria Thérèse, David McVicar’s richly detailed 2008 staging of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier offers more hope than most.

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Royal Opera House

There is hell-fire enough at the close of Francesca Zambello’s 2002 staging of Don Giovanni to consume not just the Don but the entire production.

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vedernikov, Royal Festival Hall, London

The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s intriguing new Prokofiev series is entitled “Man of the People?” and the enigma is all in the question mark.

London Symphony Orchestra/ Pappano, Barbican Hall

It was almost as if the London Symphony Orchestra had enjoyed advance notice of Antonio Pappano’s well-deserved Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list.

National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain / Daniel, Barbican Hall, London

You’d expect the teenagers of the National Youth Orchestra to have some good moves but the opening and closing items of their winter concert took us all the way to the club floor and back again.

Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Royal Opera House

The years have undoubtedly taken their toll and what seemed so fresh and new in 1993 - the pristine abstractions of Richard Hudson's design, the washes of orange and gold light, the assertively jolly Brueghelesque costumes - now looks a little pantomimic.

London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Fleming/ Eschenbach, Royal Festival Hall (3/5)

With Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture raising the curtain, so to speak, Renée Fleming arrived like Venus in a soufflé of black and bronze layered chiffon.

Britten Sinfonia & Voices/ Elder, Queen Elizabeth Hall (5/5)

The onstage mingling of orchestra, soloists, and conductor prior to this seasonal performance of Berlioz' L'enfance du Christ was presumably designed to lend a more intimate, informal tone to the start of the evening so that the music could "emerge", as it were, without the usual formalities of bows and applause.

Australian Chamber Orchestra/ Tognetti, Queen Elizabeth Hall (4/5)

At the core of the Australian Chamber Orchestra is a string ensemble, soloistic in nature, enquiring in spirit, whose connections one to the other make for a palpable kind of musical telepathy.

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