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

First Night: Adriana Lecouvreur, Royal Opera House, London

Two titanic talents bring star quality to a tale about dangers of fame

Verdi Rigoletto, Royal Opera House

The passing of La Stupenda, Dame Joan Sutherland, cast a long dark shadow over the evening and maybe it was that which gave this revival of Verdi’s Rigoletto (Gilda was one of many roles she famously sang at Covent Garden) an added frisson of commitment and excitement.

Dame Joan Sutherland: Soprano known as 'La Stupenda'

Joan Sutherland's career was so solid and durable – and those are miserable words for a thing of such brilliance – that it might seem perverse to fix on one night of it. But 17 February 1959 was the date, and the occasion, a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the stuff that legends are made of. "Yes, yes," people say as if to wave away the subject, quieten the old opera-bore, soothe a child who tells of improbable adventures which you know the real world lacks resources to supply, But no: that night was one of the great events of a lifetime, and the voice of wonder is not so easily silenced.

Jessica Duchen: 'La Stupenda', a voice as singular as Maria Callas

Covent Garden became Sutherland's artistic home and she was a key player in some of its biggest moments

Griffin's 'Question Time' inspires Bonnie Greer opera

It was one of the most controversial programmes in television history. When Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, was invited on to BBC 1's Question Time, it sparked massive protests. The programme, earlier this year, had extra edge because Mr Griffin was next to the black academic and playwright Bonnie Greer.

Ignite set to transform Covent Garden into an enchanted forest

If you go down to the Royal Opera House, you're sure of a big surprise. Next weekend, Covent Garden will be transformed into a series of different forests as part of Ignite, the annual three-day contemporary arts festival. There's a shimmering Floating Forest, with real trees hanging from the beams, in the Paul Hamlyn Hall, while 200 discarded opera costumes from the ROH archives will create a surreal Faded Forest in the Conservatory, alongside mannequins and an Amazonian soundscape. The Linbury Studio will be transformed into a Reclaimed Forest of recycled telegraph poles and a reflecting pool by the opera designer Dick Bird. And in the entrance hall, the Anglo-French artist Alice Anderson has been commissioned to create a forest of tumbling auburn hair titled "Mother Web", which will remain in place for a year.

Gung-ho for gadgets: World's largest Apple store opens in Covent Garden

A line of acolytes snaked through London's Covent Garden yesterday, desperate to be among the first to sample the largest Apple store in the world. Though no new products were launched, the first 4,000 through the doors did get a free commemorative T-shirt. The shirts were gone within four hours.

Danish baritone Johan Reuter loses his head

One of the biggest challenges of the baritone repertoire is John the Baptist in Strauss's Salome: Bryn Terfel is most people's Covent Garden benchmark, and after him the gigantic Michael Volle. Stepping into Volle's shoes tomorrow – in the first revival of David McVicar's decadent Thirties production – is the Danish baritone Johan Reuter.

Observations: Figaro turns to tango

Erwin Schrott's dressing room is a-buzz. In walks a fellow Uruguayan to exchange fraternal greetings, then a dancer to collect his motorbike boots. Then a soprano comes in and parks her sleeping infant in a corner of the room: this is Anna Netrebko, Schrott's other half, about to open in Covent Garden's Manon: their son Tiago Arua is not quite two.

Soprano Eri Nakamura reveals steely determination

Those of us who had seen her on stage were in no way surprised that Eri Nakamura should make it to the finals of last year's Cardiff Singer of the World. For this petite and lustrous soprano, born in a remote Japanese village, has an unforgettable presence. After doing extraordinary things in Covent Garden's Hansel und Gretel and Dido and Aeneas, she's now a house favourite in soubrette roles, most recently as Musetta in La Bohème , for which she gives generous credit to the lapdog with whom she co-starred. "He was more used to his role than I was," she explains. "He was a proper professional, showing me how I should do things. He took away all my nervousness."

Covent Garden Market kicks off partner search

The Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA), which runs the largest fresh-produce market in the UK, is understood to have called in advisers to help find a private-sector partner for the £1bn scheme to redevelop its 57-acre site.

Tourist raped in London's West End

Detectives were hunting a rapist today after he dragged a woman off the street while she was having a cigarette outside a restaurant.

Michael Church: Katya and the Vixen: Janacek at the ROH and ENO

Orchestrally speaking, Janacek is bringing out the best in our big opera houses. While Sir Charles Mackerras gallantly triumphs over age and infirmity to conduct a coruscating performance of ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ at Covent Garden, Mark Wigglesworth extracts more pliant beauty from the Coliseum band than any other conductor has in recent memory.

David Lister: Covent Garden does the decent thing

It was the one cast change that the Royal Opera didn't want to happen.

The Truth about Melody Browne, By Lisa Jewell

For anyone who hasn't picked up a Lisa Jewell novel since her chick-lit classic Ralph's Party (1999), it might be time for a re-acquaintance. Having out-grown tales of love-sick flatmates, Jewell has more complex scenarios to spin. Melody is a 33-year-old single mother who shares a flat in Covent Garden with her 17-year-old son.

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Day In a Page

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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
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
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
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?