News

Italian luxury notebook maker Moleskine has picked Canary Wharf and Covent Garden for its first standalone UK stores.

Moomin valley to open embassy in London

The Moomins – Finnish cartoon characters – descend on London this week.

Will and I with my birthday cake. There wasn't room for 63 candles

Placido Domingo, Royal Opera House, London

The Royal Opera House declared it a "celebration" to mark 40 years since Placido Domingo first sang here.

First Night: Placido Domingo Celebration, Royal Opera House, London

A homage to a great who still gives it his all

Novelist Josephine Hart dies

Writer Josephine Hart whose debut novel sold more than one million copies has died.

Guns, girls and God in a tale for our times

The Royal Opera's first staging of The Tsar's Bride invites chilling comparisons with today's Russia, says Jessica Duchen

Tom Sutcliffe: So you think you can shock me...

The week in culture

Pub of the year in capital for first time

A pub in London's bustling Covent Garden has become the first in the capital to be named national pub of the year.

The Magic Flute, Royal Opera House

After the epic inanities of Mike Figgis’s cinematic take on ‘Lucrezia Borgia’ at the Coliseum - whose only saving grace was a trio of superb voices - it was sweet relief to encounter David McVicar’s ‘Magic Flute’ at Covent Garden. McVicar may have his own way of going over the top, but in this classic production, now in its third revival, he doesn’t put a foot wrong.

Heads up: Anna Nicole

An aria of sex, drugs, gold-digging and tragedy

Aleksandra Kurzak finds a voice of her own

Ever since, as a small girl, she sang along with her opera-singer mother's warm-ups – shadowing her coloratura note-for-note in Queen of the Night – Aleksandra Kurzak has been up for challenges. She spent her childhood preparing to become a professional violinist – regarding singing as being too easy – but when Placido Domingo singled out this feisty young Pole in his Operalia festival, she decided to give singing a go instead.

Adriana Lecouvreur, Royal Opera House, London

It’s more than a century since Covent Garden last staged Francesco Cilea’s ‘Adriana Lecouvreur’, and the reason they’re doing it now – for astronomical seat prices – is glaringly obvious.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home