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

Conductor Claudio Abbado performing with his orchestra during the opening concert of the Lucerne Festival, in Lucerne, Switzerland

Claudio Abbado dies aged 80: An appreciation of the late conductor

No wonder he was widely considered the finest conductor of his day, he was certainly the best-loved of them all, writes Jessica Duchen

Classical album reviews: Taverner Consort and Choir, Rolando Villazón, Sabine Liebner

Taverner Consort & Choir, Andrew Parrott "Carlo Gesualdo: Tenebrae Responses for Good Friday" (Avie)

Classical album reviews: Fires of Love, Fritz Hauser, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Fires Of Love, "Remember Me My Deir" (Delphian)

Sir Thomas Allen, opera singer

Page 3 Profile: Sir Thomas Allen, opera singer

A real-life rags to riches story?

Best of 2014: Classical and opera preview

Michael Church picks this years must-hear classical

Katherine Jenkins performs at Epsom in June 2012

Katherine Jenkins: 'I'm hooked on Downton Abbey and Homeland'

Cultural Life: The singer on her favourite music, film, tv and theatre picks

The Week in Radio: A little Britten isn't enough to get hooked on classics

Let me begin with a disclaimer in the hope that it will absolve me from the daft, the ignorant, the downright imbecilic statements that are likely to follow. My knowledge of classical music is, to put it generously, sketchy. What I know about Benjamin Britten, the subject of Radio 3's latest season devoted to a single composer, wouldn't fill a Post-it note.

Food for thought: Ian Rankin, novelist

The novelist Ian Rankin OBE is best known for his Inspector Rebus and Malcolm Fox crime series. His latest Rebus book, Saints of the Shadow Bible, is out now. Here he tells Charlotte Cripps about his current reading, watching, and listening...

Classical review: Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, Wigmore Hall, London

Mozart, despite his infant brilliance, was not the all-time classical prodigy. As a performer he was beaten to the wire by the English infant phenomenon William Crotch, who gave his first performance at the age of two. And with Saint-Saens composing waltzes at three, Mozart’s compositional start at five looks relatively sedate. Indeed, as Bayan Northcott suggests in his book “The Way We Listen Now”, the boy Mozart’s rigorous training and easy command of the standard genres and musical clichés of the day meant that he was comparatively late in finding his own true voice. The Wigmore performance of an opera he wrote at eleven gave us a chance to test that theory against reality.

Songs by Mick Hucknall's Simply Red keep people on the phone

Stuck on hold to your local council? Your spirits will be lifted by Lighthouse Family and Simply Red

Simply Red, Lighthouse Family and Katie Melua tracks are especially effective, according to Lincolnshire County Council

Pianist Mitsuko Uchida

Classical review: Christian Blackshaw, Wigmore Hall / Uchida, Ticciati, LSO, Barbican London

Christian Blackshaw occupies a unique niche on the piano circuit. His brilliant early career was powered by the ability, which he had absorbed from his great mentor Clifford Curzon, to make every note sing. His wife’s illness then took him out of the game, which he has now re-entered.

Classical review: quartet-lab, Wigmore Hall, London

Signifying their subversive intent with a lower-case title, quartet-lab aim to revolutionise the quartet repertoire. They are led by the charismatic Pekka Kuusisto, whose credentials as a jazz and folk violinist are as impressive as those for his classical work. Maverick Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey has long pioneered unusual arrangements, and with Kuusisto’s Finnish compatriot Lilli Maijala as violist, and with the Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja - who inherited a wider musical perspective from her cimbalom-playing father – these are all seasoned innovators.

Dolby at work; by the 1970s his Dolby B filter was standard in all self-respecting cassette players

Ray Dolby obituary: Inventor whose noise-reduction technology transformed sound reproduction

The first Dolby filter cost £700, around £11,000 today; he soon began working on a home model

And the winners aren't... Ig Nobel prize 'celebrates' silly science - from penis amputation research to star-gazing dung beetles and walking on water

The Ig Nobel prize winners have been announced, with stargazing dung beetles, penis amputations and rodent guzzling recognised in an award ceremony that celebrates the sillier side of scientific research.

Nick Pritchard (Paolino) and Alice Rose Privett (Carolina) in BYO's The Secret Marriage

Classical review: The Secret Marriage - British Youth Opera triumphantly deliver a rarity by Cimarosa

While the big companies trundle out their hackneyed revivals, British Youth Opera ploughs its own furrow, first with a large-scale production of Britten’s “Paul Bunyan”, now with Domenico Cimarosa’s “The Secret Marriage”, an 18th century opera buffa which no major English company has staged in recent memory.

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Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable