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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London Symphony Orchestra/ Mutter/ Gergiev, Barbican Hall (4/5)

For anyone who’s ever thought that the term Vorsprung durch Technik might be better applied to the superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter than a certain brand of automobile her hair-raising account of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra will have given pause.

Wallen/Greer,Yes, Linbury Studio Theatre

The starting and finishing point for Errollyn Wallen and Bonnie Greer’s chamber opera Yes is Greer’s 2009 appearance on BBC’s Question Time alongside the British National Party’s Nick Griffin.

Yes, Royal Opera House, London

The starting and finishing point for Errollyn Wallen and Bonnie Greer's chamber opera Yes is Greer's 2009 appearance on BBC's Question Time alongside the British National Party's Nick Griffin.

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/ Chailly, Barbican Hall

The venerable and venerated Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra gave the first ever complete cycle of Beethoven symphonies and Riccardo Chailly, their 19Kapellmeister, was impatient to renew that sense of revelation and surprise in an age when each of the nine has grown so familiar that restoring the elusive shock-of-the-new factor can and does separate the sensation-seekers from the scholars.

I, Culture Orchestra/ Kotla/Marriner, Royal Festival Hall, London

Sounding for all the world like the latest App for a certain smartphone, the I, Culture Orchestra is the youngest orchestra on the planet – just seven concerts old.

Love Never Dies...twice

I much enjoyed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel the first time around, but there is no question that its radical revamp, eradicates some of the confusions and engages its audience with grabby immediacy.

LPO/Jurowski, Royal Festival Hall, London<field name="starRating">fivestar</field>

Like so many of Vladimir Jurowski's intriguing programme ideas, the pairing of Ravel's Piano Concert for the Left Hand and Shostakovich's 7th Symphony "Leningrad" amounted to much more than the musical equivalent of speed-dating. Both works were, in different ways, the products of war and heroism: the concerto inspired by the pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who rebuilt a concert career despite losing an arm in the First World War; and the symphony an ode to the people of Leningrad, whose endurance in the face of Nazi oppression had been well-practised under Stalin.

The Mikado, Gielgud Theatre, London

Step forward all those who remember the original Carl Rosa Company. No? Well, the name is alive and well, and, under the auspices of Raymond Gubbay, presenting Gilbert and Sullivan at the Gielgud. It's a cosy idea, actually – the way things were in a head-on collision with the way things are. G&S were nothing if not topical, and the really charming thing about this show is that its strong sense of period is peppered with a contemporary knowingness.

Parsifal, Royal Opera House, London

The wigwam is still there; so is the Damien Hirst shark and some of the worst costuming outside of bring-and-buy. Only one of the above stars is for Klaus Michael Grber's dismal 2001 staging of Wagner's final opera. Frankly, it should never have been revived. Not even for Bernard Haitink, returning to the House for the first time since he stepped down as music director in 2002. His Wagnerian credentials have always been impressive; wisdom and patience are great attributes in this work, especially as the Motif of the Sacrament swells, solo trumpet piercing the string arpeggiations like the point of the holy Spear.

Opera: Aida, Coliseum, London

Fashion show at Pharoah's court
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