The men behind the rise and rise of Opera Holland Park are proud of their diverse repertoire – and their diverse audience. Anna Picard reports
As Anna Nicole takes centre stage, Mark Pappenheim charts lust, adultery and even murder among the femme fatales
A new production about Anna Nicole Smith and the arrival of 3D broadcasts aim to widen the appeal of an art form that is perceived as elitist.
Where to go, what to do in 2011
Rene Jacobs: singer, conductor, scholar, archivist, alchemist, teacher. In recent years he's been "rehabilitating" the Mozart operas for the Harmonia Mundi label, eradicating 19th century retouchings and stylistic anomalies in order to restore these great works to their vibrant original colours.
A career in television led to Katie Derham neglecting her childhood passion for the violin. Rediscovering it changed her life and even saw her playing to a live audience
The British tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson was one of the finest exponents in his generation of the roles originally sung by Peter Pears in the operas of Benjamin Britten. However, his interpretations were in no way copies of the senior tenor's idiosyncratic versions; rather, they were recreations of the music that perfectly suited his own voice and style. His other favourite opera composers were Monteverdi and Mozart, while he sang the great Bach Passions and Handel oratorios throughout his career. As a recitalist he was a founder member of the Songmakers' Almanac and specialised in Schubert lieder and Britten's canticles. He also became an excellent conductor, especially of operas in which he had himself sung, such as Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.
The Italian bass Cesare Siepi was one of the finest exponents of Mozart's Don Giovanni to tread the opera stage in the second half of the 20th century. He sang the role 71 times in New York at the Metropolitan Opera; he sang it at La Scala in Milan, the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, the Royal Opera House in London and many other places. He was also a powerful King Philip II in Don Carlos and sang at least eight or nine other of Verdi's rewarding bass roles. His range easily extended to Wagner, sung in Italian at La Scala and in German at the Met. His beautiful voice, strong, warm and supple, allied to good looks and a splendid stage presence, brought him a popularity that lasted throughout his long career.
Audiences going to see films directed by this studious Austrian have learnt to brace themselves. His latest may be the most unsettling of the lot
Opera singer and actor, broadcaster, writer, cabaret artist, compere and raconteur, Ian Wallace – a true Scot, and sometimes a kilted one – discovered quite early in his life that he had a talent for entertaining people. But his comprehensive success in this convivial activity was achieved despite what most people would regard as serious handicaps: he had no formal training as singer or actor; and he was critically ill, in his 20s, with testicular and spinal tuberculosis. That his father, the Dunfermline MP, Sir John Wallace, hoped that he would succeed at the Bar, did not make his path any the less problematic.
The libretto has been taken from the sublime to a ridiculous conclusion. Instead of a "little book" - its literal meaning – the latest, and most avant-garde, of operas will feature little "tweets". In a blatant attempt to shake off its fusty image, the Royal Opera House has teamed up with the micro-blogging site to produce The Twitter Opera with a libretto composed entirely of public tweets.
The Haydn season kicked off with the obligatory splurge on Radio 3, and a massed charge led by Andras Schiff at the Wigmore Hall, but the really interesting thing was what the musicologist and fortepianist Robert Levin was doing at the Southbank. We quite often hear the fortepiano in these period-conscious days, but, sandwiched between performances on modern instruments, it always ends up sounding thin and a little bit impotent – so attuned are our ears to the luxurious richness of the Steinway.
A younger, less elitist audience wants to see stars who move athletically on stage and look like the characters they portray. Ian Griggs reports
Graceful, dynamic and surprising, Giuliano Carmignola's collaboration with Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra Mozart is a must-have recording.
A season of performances from the Royal Opera House is to be screened live at cinemas in Britain and across Europe.
Maurizio Pollini's Mozart Concerto series with the Vienna Philharmonic continues with a flawless and buoyant performance of the A major and C minor concertos.