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

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

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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.

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