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

Philharmonia Orchestra/ Mackerras, Royal Festival Hall



Elgar knew and enjoyed his Mozart with the rest of us but at the start of this well-balanced programme it was almost as if a little of his pomp and circumstance – or perhaps I should say “nobilmente” - had rubbed off on Sir Charles Mackerras’ account of Wolfgang Amadeus’ Overture in the Italian Style or Symphony No.32.

La Boh&egrave;me, Robert Dornhelm, (115 mins)<br>The Full Monteverdi, John La Bouchardi&egrave;re, (60 mins)

Another brave director takes a stab at transferring Puccini's tragic masterpiece to celluloid, with mixed results

The opera singer: Vuyani Mlinde

When Vuyani Mlinde is on stage, you don't take your eyes off him: the timbre of voice and vividness of performance demand attention. Now recognised as a rising star among bass-baritones, this unassuming 28-year-old South African is making his mark with all the big baritone roles, from Leporello and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni to the philosopher Colline in La Bohème.

Richard Van Allan: Distinguished operatic bass and later Director of the National Opera Studio

For more than 30 years the English bass Richard Van Allan sang at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, the British regional companies and at various opera houses in Europe and North America. He had a wide repertory encompassing Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Strauss and Britten, and took part in several premieres of new operas.

For You, Linbury Studio Theatre, London

Sex and Strauss in Ian McEwan's first libretto

Too big for La Boh&egrave;me: svelte singers are the new shape of opera

A younger, less elitist audience wants to see stars who move athletically on stage and look like the characters they portray. Ian Griggs reports

Preview: Don Giovanni, Royal Opera House, London

Feisty soprano set to sparkle in Mozart classic

Madeleine Lovell: Noises Off

Conducting is the last bastion of musical male dominance, but the women are breaking in

Nicola Rescigno: Co-founder of Dallas Opera

The conductor Nicola Rescigno is best remembered as co-founder of the Dallas Opera and as its artistic director for 33 years. He was also music director and, for a few years, general manager as well. His preference was for Italian opera, so Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini made up a large part of the repertory at Dallas; he also liked French opera, so Bizet and Massenet figured on the bill too. Rescigno was known as a "singers' conductor" and for 10 years he was a favourite of Maria Callas, with whom he worked in Chicago and in Europe, as well as at Dallas. However, he was no prima donnas' slave and always put the composer first.

The truth about love, Barbican, London

"Tell Me the Truth About Love": Zoë Wanamaker made the request on behalf of WH Auden at the start of this lively "journey through Mozart's operas" in the Barbican's Mostly Mozart festival. The responses were many and varied. The Auden, for instance, was met with anxious questions from Cherubino, the oversexed page-boy from The Marriage of Figaro. And speaking of raging hormones, Simon Russell Beale then proffered a letter from the young Mozart suggesting that infatuation and marriage were somewhat confused in his mind, prompting Papageno and Pamina to contemplate domestic bliss from their different perspectives in the delicious Act I duet from The Magic Flute.

Album: Mozart, Violin Concertos/Sinfonia Concertante (Deutsche Grammophon)

Graceful, dynamic and surprising, Giuliano Carmignola's collaboration with Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart is a must-have recording.

David Lister: Listen to Nigel

The Week in Arts: When Nigel speaks, people should listen

Coming to a big screen near you &ndash; live opera

A season of performances from the Royal Opera House is to be screened live at cinemas in Britain and across Europe.

Danielle de Niese, Barbican, London

"Myself I shall adore," sang Danielle de Niese at the Barbican, incarnating Handel's sexually voracious Semele. But this girl hardly needed to, so deafening is the chorus of approval in which she basks. She's the ultimate classical poster-girl, deployed to lethal effect by Glyndebourne, first in 2005 as the sexiest Cleopatra in living memory in Giulio Cesare, and now as a raunchy 21st-century version of Monteverdi's mixed-up Poppea.

You write the reviews: Cosi Fan Tutte, Castleward Opera, Strangford lough, County Down

This is Tom Hawkes's eighth production of this opera in almost 40 years. He tells us that he has returned to it because he still finds something new to say, and Mozart never bores him. He goes on to prove his point by factoring in some deft, unexpected touches in his direction, right up to the last bars of the score.

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