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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
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker