Arts and Entertainment

Barbican, London

Conductor Hickox dies at 60

Richard Hickox, described as "one of the world's leading conductors", has died from a suspected heart attack aged 60.

Romeo and Juliet, on motifs of Shakespeare, Barbican, London

Mark Morris's new Romeo is both stripped-down and revisionist. He uses the first version of Prokofiev's score, recently rediscovered by Simon Morrison, complete with radically different ending. The settings are plain, the most macho male roles are played by women, and passion is almost entirely absent.

Antony and the Johnsons, Barbican, London

There's a fantastic image on the front cover of Antony and the Johnson's new EP of the great Japanese butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno. His face is caked in thick white stage paint; his fingers snap out of shape, almost audibly, and his eyes fix themselves on some chimerical vision just out of shot. As a caught moment of butoh's dance of darkness, it's an arresting image; as a frontispiece to Another World, five songs of crippled beauty and uneasy, otherworldly landscapes, it's a masterstroke.

Prom 40: BBC SO & Chorus / Boulez, Royal Albert Hall, London

There was some surprise when it was learnt that Pierre Boulez, a conductor of immaculate precision, had taken to performing that sometimes rough diamond Leos Janacek. But with his recent readings of Janacek's last opera, From the House of the Dead, having drawn rave reviews, one approached this Prom of his music from 1926 (well into the Czech composer's prodigious old age) with real anticipation.

Prom 46: LSO / Gergiev, Royal Albert Hall, London

The popular misconception of Tchaikovsky as a composer of splashy orchestra showpieces is hard to shake. Valery Gergiev seemed at pains to put this to rights and celebrate the fastidious craftsman in his complete performance of the composer's most "classical" ballet, The Sleeping Beauty. Such an event is a rarity in concert hall or theatre – at best we probably hear only about 80 per cent of the score.

David Miliband: a biography

Preview: UBS Soundscapes, LSO St Luke's, London

An explosion of sound as two worlds collide

John Cruft: LSO oboist and secretary who became a much-loved director of music and drama at the Arts Council

In the late 1960s, when Jennie Lee was Minister for the Arts, William Glock was Director of Music at the BBC, and Pierre Boulez conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, John Cruft was the much-loved and respected Director of Music and Drama at the Arts Council (where Arnold Goodman was then Chairman). Ironically, at a time when "serious" music was as about as unpopular as "popular" music was then popular, new music nevertheless had its most formidable and capable champions within the establishment. When Cruft retired from the Arts Council in 1979, having been its Director of Music for 14 years, it was found that three people needed to be appointed to fulfil the workload he had somehow managed on his own.

Roberto Alagna, Barbican Hall, London

It was plucky, not to say defiant, of Roberto Alagna to include the treacherous "Celeste Aida" in his Viva Verdi recital. This was, after all, the aria that precipitated his famous walk-out from La Scala, Milan, in December 2006, when elements in the audience showed their disapproval in the traditional manner. But if he sang it there as he did here, then I can't say I blame them.

London Sinfonietta/ Ad&egrave;s, Royal Festival Hall, London<br />LSO/Colin Davies, Barbican, London<br />Heiner Goebbels, University of Westminster, London

Thomas Ad&egrave;s and Tal Rosner illustrate the creation myth with charm, colour, and liberal use of musical references, but even quoting The Coventry Carol cannot save James MacMillan's violent St John Passion

A380 - Get on board the double-decker

What's it like on Singapore Airlines' A380? Mark Rowe joined the first flight out of Heathrow

Gareth Malone: Note perfect

He&rsquo;s the nation&rsquo;s favourite singing teacher. Women love him. Gay men adore him. And his efforts to turn reluctant state-school pupils into convincing choristers have made him the BBC&rsquo;s latest &ndash; and most unexpected &ndash; star. But where exactly did Gareth Malone spring from? And what on earth will he make of our intrepid interviewer's, er... 'voice'?

Jack Lyons: Financier and philanthropist convicted for his part in the Guinness share-trading scandal

The death of Jack Lyons at the age of 92 ends more than 15 years of exile for a man once highly regarded for his philanthropy and the influence he wielded in high places. In 1987 Lyons was accused, along with Ernest Saunders, Gerald Ronson and Anthony Parnes, of illegally supporting the price of shares in Guinness during its bid for Distillers the previous year. All four were convicted of theft, conspiracy and false accounting, and Lyons was fined £3m and stripped of the knighthood he had been awarded in 1973 for charitable works and services to the arts.

LSO/Gardiner, Barbican, London

Sir John Eliot Gardiner did not quite begin at the beginning. His Beethoven cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra kicked off with the Second Symphony, and both here and in the devilishly innovative Eighth it was interesting to experience a conductor, who has spent the greater part of his career championing period instruments, revelling in the sheer power and depth of sonority that a contemporary orchestra such as the LSO routinely harnesses. The very first chord of the evening was little short of alarming.

La Traviata, Royal Opera House, London <br /> LSO/Gergiev, Barbican Hall, London

Overstuffed sets and buttressed costumes do their best to squeeze the life out of Verdi's doomed heroine, but it's worth fighting for a ticket for this Covent Garden revival just to see Anna Netrebko
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