Arts and Entertainment

Very occasionally you are lucky enough to encounter a performance in which a sort of mystical transformation takes place: when the music and the way it is performed simply embody the emotion that underlies it.

Battle royal rages in Wales' mini-kingdom

IT MAY be the smallest kingdom in the world, with a modest five subjects, but a war of succession has sprung up on the Welsh island of Bardsey, off Lleyn peninsula. Last month the Bardsey Island Trust said that, 70 years after the last monarch died, it would crown an opera singer as king of the two-by-one-mile island.

Battle of kings for island's crown

IT MAY be the smallest kingdom in the world with a modest five subjects to govern but a war of succession has sprung up on the tiny Welsh island of Bardsey, off the Lleyn Peninsula.

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: FESTIVAL HOT TICKETS

The Edinburgh Festival is finally under way. There's a month of comedy, dance, film, music and theatre in store and several venues are already boasting record sales. Below is a guide to what you should be booking now to make sure you see this year's most exciting performances.

First British king for 63 years

HIS KINGDOM may be only two miles long, and he may only have five subjects, but when you're royalty, size doesn't matter. Bryn Terfel, a Welsh opera star, is to be crowned king of Bardsey, a tiny island off the Lleyn peninsula in north Wales next week.

Classical: An embarrassment of operatic riches

With its focus on Verdi and Schiller, the Edinburgh Festival has at last proved it is a worthy home to lyric theatre.

An assembly for Wales? It's the 'Whys' that have it on Why

News from Elsewhere

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 97 / REVIEWS

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 97 / REVIEWS

PROMS: Monteverdi Choir, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique / Gardiner; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Saraste Royal Albert Hall, London / Radio 3

As expected, John Eliot Gardiner's Beethoven Ninth hit the ground running. The temperature in the hall last Sunday night matched the atmosphere, almost from bar one. What the violins and violas of the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique thought about standing for the entire performance one can only guess, but it ensured electric playing. Articulation was breathtaking in its clarity; from the stalls, not even the RAH acoustic could blur the edges. The first movement hurtled to its overwhelming, tragic conclusion like a meteorite. Then came the Scherzo: an intoxicating whirlwind of a dance, driven forward by John Chimes's super-rhythmic timpani-playing. The Adagio - almost as fast as Beethoven's alarmingly lively metronome mark - was even more revelatory. Slow movements have often been the weak spots in period-instrument Beethoven; but here the music danced - at one point unmistakably waltzed - with surprising lightness and grace. And there were colours, details, effects of light and shade that have somehow got lost before.

Opera and recitals top 5

1 Sole & Amore: Puccini Arias KIRI TE KANAWA

OPERA: Salome Royal Opera House, London

The head looks like it's still attached to the body, the bloody shroud hanging from it like Salome's eighth veil. The "child of admonition" has the man of God in her embrace at last, and for one awful moment, it's as if they are dancing. A waltz. Salome's waltz. The last waltz. And she's saved it just for him.

The best Salome you ever heard

MUSIC

Freak out!

Rheinallt H Rowlands: funny name, no joke.

Classical RPO Birthday Gala Royal Albert Hall, London

An orchestra that's been around for two score years and ten has reason enough to celebrate its 50th birthday, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra did it in style at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday. The concert was billed as a gala, a word that often denotes an emphasis on social drinking for patrons rather than musical quality. But with William Bennett and Marisa Robles performing Mozart's Concerto for flute and harp, and Ida Haendel playing Ravel's Tzigane, music was the order of the evening for the RPO, with the proceeds going to good causes.

Edinburgh Mendelssohn: Elijah Usher Hall

"The Tory Party at prayer" is just one waggish description aimed at Elijah in the 150 years since its Birmingham Festival premiere in 1846. The anniversary-obsessed musical world has been busy finding out whether Mendelssohn's oratorio really is as irretrievably stuck in its early-Victorian timewarp as legend would have it. Besides performances at the Three Choirs Festival and the Proms, the Edinburgh Festival's closing concert on Saturday offered the additional interest of a period-instrument performance by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. This represented rarity value of a high order: how often do we get a chance to hear the Tory Party at prayer and accompanied by an ophicleide?
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
Bruges
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum