Arts and Entertainment In rehearsal: the Don is sung in Kasper Holten's new production by the Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien

As the Royal Opera opens its new Don Giovanni, Jessica Duchen argues that its theme of moral vacuity is as relevant now as in Mozart's day

Best of 2014: Classical and opera preview

Michael Church picks this years must-hear classical

Rufus Norris stands outside the National Theatre

Standing ovation for Rufus Norris as he's revealed as new National Theatre director

Norris, who recently staged The Amen Corner at the National, will take over from Sir Nicholas Hytner in 2015

Don Giovanni, Mozart, Opera North, Grand Theatre, Leeds

Despite its origins in Spanish legend, Spain is not important to Mozart’s and da Ponte’s Don Giovanni. So the placing of the story in the context of the early 1960s in Alessandro Talevi’s new production for Opera North is non-controversial.

Come as you are: ENO seeks a new audience by encouraging jeans and trainers and serving alcohol

Glyndebourne, this is not. Welcome to opera for the next generation; where jeans and trainers are encouraged, punters can drink in bars and the young audiences can even stick on their headphones if they do not like the music.

The Sinking of the Titanic, Barbican Hall, London / Jakob Lenz, Hampstead Theatre, London / Don Giovanni, Heaven, London

Moving musical memories of 'Titanic', a sodden mystic and a drooling Don make the going soggy

Elizabeth Connell: Mezzo and soprano acclaimed for her Verdi and Wagner interpretations

The opera singer Elizabeth Connell enjoyed 10 successful years as a mezzo before becoming a soprano and enjoying over two decades more of international acclaim.

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Royal Opera House

There is hell-fire enough at the close of Francesca Zambello’s 2002 staging of Don Giovanni to consume not just the Don but the entire production.

Album: Various Artists, Lumières: Music Of The Enlightenment (Harmonia Mundi)

It might seem a fool's errand to attempt to encapsulate the musical developments of the 18th century in a single package, given the era's heavyweight talents include Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn.

Don Garrard: Bass who made his name with the Sadler's Wells company

The Canadian bass Don Garrard sang in the UK for over 20 years, with the Royal Opera, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, and above all with Sadler's Wells, now English National Opera. He had a natural authority, both of voice and bearing, that served him well in roles such as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Prince Gremin in Tchaikowsky's Eugene Onegin and the Grand Inquisitor in Verdi's Don Carlos. The warmth of his voice and personality also allowed him to play loving fathers with equal facility; among these Daland in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman and Arkel in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande are good examples. His singing was also much appreciated in Canada and the US.

Free drink and programme when you see ENO productions of The Elixir of Love or The Marriage of Figaro

Jonathan Miller’s triumphant staging of Donizetti’s comic masterpiece 'The Elixir of Love' returns to the London Coliseum this September for a limited run of only nine performances, while Fiona Shaw brings her unique creative flair to a major new production of Mozart’s immensely popular classic 'The Marriage of Figaro' in October.

Proms 47, 49 & 53, Royal Albert Hall, London<br/>London Contemporary Orchestra, Roundhouse, Camden, London<br/>Don Giovanni, Soho Theatre, London

Orchestras made up of the world&rsquo;s present and future principals, the best orchestral players on the planet, dazzle at the Proms

Mozart&rsquo;s Don Giovanni, OperaUpClose, Soho Theatre

Fired by the Olivier-winning success of their miniature ‘Boheme’ last year, OperaUpClose have become fizzingly prolific. After three pocket productions at the Kings Head, they have now moved back to the slightly more spacious Soho Theatre with ‘Mozart’s Don Giovanni’, whose title reflects the fact that other cooks besides Wolfgang had a hand in its creation.

Saturdays in the park - it&rsquo;s not all rock&rsquo;n&rsquo;roll, you know

It&rsquo;s festival fever, but will you go for opera, vintage style or a children&rsquo;s day out? Kate Hilpern dons her wellies

London Symphony Orchestra/ Pires/ Haitink, Barbican Hall

Her appearances in this country are rare enough as it is so to discover that Maria Joao Pires was to be a late substitute (for the indisposed Murray Perahia) was precious consolation indeed.

David Price: The defence experts making big advances

The Business Interview: Chemring is proving resilient despite government cutbacks. Sarah Arnott meets its chief executive
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

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Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
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Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
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Design Council's 70th anniversary

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Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
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Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links