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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LSO/Davis, Barbican, London <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fivestar -->

Quite how or why Berlioz's exquisite L'Enfance du Christ came to launch a series entitled "Choral Blockbusters" is anyone's guess, but Sir Colin Davis and his worshipful company of performers made it as mystical an experience as we have any right to expect, and there was definitely something in the air.

Opera: A lesson in class and seduction

La Clemenza di Tito Coliseum London oooo9

OPERA: Seeing is not believing

La Traviata Royal Opera House London oo999

La Rondine, Royal Opera House, London

It is La traviata meets Die Fledermaus. Traviata without the fatality; Fledermaus without the frivolity. Puccini's La rondine (The Swallow) can never quite bring itself to be operetta (despite the Viennese source of its commission) but nor can it quite surrender to tragedy. There's a sense in which audiences have never quite known where they were with it. Until, that is, EMI cemented the real-life romance of opera's golden couple - Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu - and walked off with just about every award the recording industry had to offer. That was in 1998, and neither the opera, nor the singers, nor the conductor Antonio Pappano have ever looked back. This 2002 staging was the fruit of their collective success.

La Fanciulla del West, Opera Holland Park London

How the 'West' was won

Attila, Royal Opera House, London

Stamina wins over subtlety

Don Giovanni, Royal Opera House, London

Nemesis calls for Terfel's towering Don

Turandot, Royal Albert Hall, London

The princess and the paupers

The Marriage of Figaro, Coliseum, London

Rag-and-bone marriage

The Bartered Bride, Royal Opera House, London

Marriage of convenience
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