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

Joyce DiDonato will star at the Last Night of the Proms

Proms star soloist Joyce DiDonato to sing for 'voices silenced' over gay rights

American mezzo-soprano dedicates performance of 'Over the Rainbow' to LGBT community

Noelle Barker: Soprano who championed new music

Noelle Barker had a distinguished career as a soprano, encompassing opera, oratorio and recital, but above all she was identified with new music: “There are few singers who devote so much attention to contemporary music as Miss Noelle Barker”, wrote The Times in the early 1960s of a performance of works by Robert Sherlaw Johnson and Francis Routh. She sang with Britten’s English Opera Group and other national companies before turning to teaching, and from 1976 was an influential professor at the Guildhall School of Music.

Olive Lewin: Anthropologist who rescued Jamaican folklore from Eurocentrism

Olive Lewin was a Jamaican anthropologist and cultural historian who, over the last 60 years, pulled Jamaican folklore out of the shadow of Eurocentric prejudice.

Royal command: Susan Bullock’s Elizabeth I has a touch of Bette Davis about her

Classical Review: Gloriana -Never enter the Virgin Queen’s bedchamber

Commissioned to celebrate the coronation of the present Queen, Gloriana was a rare flop for Benjamin Britten. Its story of silly, handsome Robert Devereux’s ascent and descent in the affections of  the ageing Elizabeth I is doubly hampered by the Tudorbethan argot of William Plomer’s libretto and the composer’s garish orchestration of John Dowland’s lute songs. For every moment of beauty and brilliance, there is another of thumb-twiddling banality.

Nelson Mandela is 'responding to treatment' after returning to hospital with lung infection

Invictus: Nelson Mandela's favourite poem set to music by opera star Pumeza Matshikiza

A poem which famously inspired Nelson Mandela during his decades of incarceration has been set to music by a rising opera star.

Cultural Life: Miranda Hart, Comedian

Comedy: I have been watching the HBO series Girls. It's my latest box set. It's extraordinary. Lena Dunham not only writes and stars in it but also directs it. Which is incredibly brave of her, but makes complete sense as it's totally her vision. And it's fantastic that a network has let her creativity flourish without interference. We need more of that in TV.

Ecstasy and Death, London Coliseum

Dance review: Ecstasy and Death, London Coliseum, London

The umbrella title for English National Ballet’s latest triple bill suggests decadent abandon.

Sir Colin Davis who died at the weekend

Tributes pour in for 'one of the greatest musicians of our time' Sir Colin Davis

Tributes have poured in for Sir Colin Davis, the longest-serving principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), who has died at the age of 85.

Anthony Conran: Acclaimed poet and translator

Anthony Conran: Acclaimed poet and translator

His achievement was all the more remarkable for the fact that he was born with cerebral palsy

Ava June (right): Lyric soprano equally at home with Britten, Wagner and Italian romantic opera

Ava June: Lyric soprano equally at home with Britten, Wagner and Italian romantic opera

Her portrayal of Tosca in the 1970s was described by one critic as 'valiant and touching'

Andras Schiff, Wigmore Hall (****)/ Mitsuko Uchida, Royal Festival Hall (*****)

Those who don’t like Andras Schiff’s Beethoven say he plays like a tyrant: for those who do, his way with the great sonata-cycle has something approaching the authority of an oracle. But even oracles can get things wrong, and so did Schiff’s account of the Rondo of Opus 31 No 1: Beethoven may have written in some quirkiness, but not to the mannered degree we got it here. Sometimes Schiff gets carried away by his own doctrinaire convictions.

Cosi fan tutte, English Touring Opera
Hackney Empire, London

Embarking on its spring tour with a new production of Cosi fan tutte, ETO offers its audiences a typically provocative essay by the late Edward Said, as a way of intellectually limbering up.

Mira Sorvino and her host Richard Lugner in Vienna

You shall go to the ball: Austrian tycoon picks this year's partner

Hollywood A-listers jet in to add sparkle to Vienna's annual event with an image problem

La Clemenza di Tito, Grand Theatre, Leeds

Which is Mozart’s last opera? Most people would say The Magic Flute, and it was indeed the last to be staged in his lifetime.

Perfect pace: Esa-Pekka Salonen in rehearsal for Woven Words, which marks the centenary of Witold Lutoslawski
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
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'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
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'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

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The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project