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

Close-up: Brian Duffy

Who needs a polyphonic synthesiser when you've got a Speak and Spell?

Tipping: Your views

The Weasel: London’s larder

Some may think that the term "Proustian" is over-employed these days, not least by this column, but once again I have to call on old Marcel for le mot juste. I can recall no volume that has had such a powerful Proustian effect on me as the new photo book Covent Garden by Clive Boursnell (Francis Lincoln, £20). "New" might not be quite the right word here, for the transporting images were captured between 1968 and 1974, when the market was still full of tumult and tomatoes, and forgotten by Boursnell for 30-odd years. I worked on the fringe of the market for some of this period. From the moment I opened the book, I was hurtled – whoosh! – back across the decades. My head filled with the smell – a mixture of ancient cabbage, fresh salad, Players No.6 and diesel exhaust – of the Piazza. I encountered this olfactory cocktail as I made my way, usually late, often a little the worse for wear, to my place of employment, a small publishers on Endell Street.

A svelter belter: Soprano Deborah Voigt has slimmed down but that fabulous voice is as big as ever

Four years ago, Deborah Voigt hit the headlines by not singing in Ariadne auf Naxos at Covent Garden. The Royal Opera House dropped her from the cast, the reason being that Voigt, possessor of a fine dramatic soprano voice, was too large for the little black dress the production demanded she wear.

Preview: Southbank Sinfonia/Allen/Matthews, Cadogan Hall, London

A glowing example for young singers

Album: Gluck, Alceste – Royal Opera House/Mackerras (Royal Opera House Heritage Series)

Recorded live in December 1981, when period instruments were still a novelty and Gluck's reputation as a dramatist had yet to be fully restored, this vintage performance of 'Alceste' has vitality and freshness.

First Night: The Minotaur, Royal Opera House, London

The human tragedy behind myth fires up this visionary tale

Royal Opera welcomes back Bryn Terfel for Wagnerian reprise at Covent Garden

When Bryn Terfel pulled out of Wagner's Ring cycle last year, the Royal Opera House issued an unusually terse statement, expressing "shock and surprise" at his decision.

Royal Opera House to drop 'shrunken penis' poster

The Royal Opera House has said it will stop using a promotional poster for a Verdi opera after an actor complained that it had been distorted in a demeaning way.

Marina Poplavskaya: At full throttle

Covent Garden calls her 'turbocharged' – and the Russian soprano Marina Poplavskaya certainly lives life in the fast lane, discovers Jessica Duchen

You Write The Reviews: La Traviata, Royal Opera House, London

I booked to see this opera primarily to see Anna Netrebko, whom I had seen last year light up the stage at the Barbican performing arias and duets with Rolando Villazó*. This decision was vindicated when many reviewers and, in particular, Edward Seckerson in this newspaper gave the production five stars and said that "the five stars belong to Anna Netrebko". The last Violetta to cause such a stir was Angela Gheorghiu. So far, so good. As is well documented, however, Netrebko cancelled her next performances. Violetta is a victim of tuberculosis, so it was ironic that she cancelled owing to bronchitis.

Close-up: Claire Ptak

Chez Panisse couldn't hold on to this pastry chef. Can east London do better?

Reading 3 Burnley 2: Reading thrive on the Long strategy

In the end, Burnley's stubborn refusal to give up turned this poorly attended contest at the Madejski Stadium last night into a closely fought Cup tie, but for most of the evening Reading, including nine reserves, seemed to be coasting towards a trip to Newcastle United or Birmingham City in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Nabucco, Opera North, Leeds Town Hall

Egypt looking good. Apart from the man with the stick
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
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Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week