Voices John Tavener at Bridgewater Hall as part of Manchester International Festival

More establishment than experimental, classifying the late composer is no easy task

Exclusive Independent offer: Cheap ENO tickets

Save up to £72

Bartok Duke Bluebeard's Castle / Stravinsky The Rite of Spring, English National Opera, London Coliseum

Nature and nurture - and all the dark and unexpected places in between. Some - Duke Bluebeard's cellar - you may never want to return to; others might invoke smiles, even laughter. English National Opera's audacious double-bill turns expectation on its head and springs so many surprises that to write about it at all - and it isn't an easy event to capture in words - runs the risk of giving the entire game-plan away. So stop reading now if you want to keep that element of surprise intact and know that the five-star rating has as much to do with vision as accomplishment. It isn't a perfect evening - the dance half is controversial to say the least - but you come out of each "event" feeling, well, just about everything.

Observations: Martinu benefits from BBC Symphony Orchestra's championship

It takes courage to programme six symphonies by a composer who has always struggled for even a sliver of attention. But Bohuslav Martinu, the 50th anniversary of whose death falls this year, is about to benefit from the BBC Symphony Orchestra's championship under the baton of his fellow countryman Jiri Belohlavek – and not a moment too soon.

Scottish Ballet, Playhouse, Edinburgh

With Scottish Ballet's new Petrushka, choreographer Ian Spink moves a traditional story to the Russia of the 1990s. It makes an atmospheric, spooky production, but Spink doesn't have enough dance ideas to fill Stravinsky's score.

Album: Stravinsky, Apollon Musagète/ Pulcinella Suite, (Linn)

Warm, silky, flexible and lithe, the core sound of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe's strings under director/violinist Alexander Janiczek bends easily to the capricious moods and textures of "Apollon musagète".

Music at the Limits, By Edward W Said

"In music, as in thought, the big picture must be the result of the precise co-ordination of small details," writes Daniel Barenboim in his shrewd introduction to this engaging collection of Edward W Said's writings.

Proms 39/40: BBCSO/Brabbins/BBCSSO/Volkov, Royal Albert Hall, London

Father-and-son Apollo and Orpheus wove their way through everything in Proms 39 and 40, barring a pleasant but unremarkable exercise in string textures by Radiohead star Johnny Greenwood.

Homage to Balanchine, Royal Opera House, London

The Mariinsky Ballet celebrates George Balanchine, in the only mixed bill of this London season. Sometimes they're on top of this choreography, sometimes not.

Proms 32, 33 and 36, Royal Albert Hall, London

Two for the price of one – it's the credit crunch Proms

Kat'a Kabanová, Opera Holland Park, London<br></br>BBC Proms PCM2, 15 &amp; 16, Cadogan Hall / Royal Albert Hall, London

A Jan&#225;cek opera is wonderfully sung, played and staged, Graham and Martineau get cheesy, and a 'Firebird' shows off its spectacular plummage

Un ballo in maschera, Opera Holland Park, London<br/>Proms 5 &amp; 6, Royal Albert Hall, London<br/>Orpheus and Euridice, Blackheath Halls, London

A scandal rocks Washington in Verdi's drama of politics and betrayal - but one bold addition in Martin Lloyd-Evans's production doesn't smack of the truth

The Proms: An insider's guide

With 76 concerts over 58 nights, how do you find the best? Here, classical experts and enthusiastic amateurs share their tips for a successful season

Power of the Proms: The diverse 115th season features many highlights from Stravinsky and Purcell to...Goldie

The Proms are here again! Summer in London wouldn't be the same without the annual extravaganza of classical music that fills the Royal Albert Hall for nearly two months, and the queues of Promenaders waiting in all weather, sometimes for hours and more, to grab the best places and stand yards away from the planet's greatest soloists and conductors, all for but a fiver. It's surely not only the world's largest music festival, as the BBC likes to bill it, but also its most beloved.

Album: Stravinsky / Sibelius, Violin Concerto / Symphonies 3 &amp; 6, (Avie)

It seems like an odd combination, but this framing of the Russian gadfly's neoclassical Violin Concerto in D with the sorrowful Finn's resinous Third and watery Sixth Symphonies is remarkably persuasive.

Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra/ Dudamel, Royal Festival Hall, London

At the close of their 5-day residency at London’s South Bank Centre the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra played “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations with such unbridled fervour as to suggest that Venezuela might be our last remaining colony.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
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

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

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
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

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?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
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
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

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