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

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.

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.

The 10 Best carol services

From candlelit concerts to the famous King’s College Choir, we pick the best of this year’s celebrations of song

Don Giovanni, Mozart, Opera North, Grand Theatre, Leeds

Despite its origins in Spanish legend, Spain is not important to Mozart’s and da Ponte’s Don Giovanni. So the placing of the story in the context of the early 1960s in Alessandro Talevi’s new production for Opera North is non-controversial.

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New English Ballet Theatre, Peacock Theatre, London

New English Ballet Theatre is an idealistic venture, a showcase company for young dancers and aspiring choreographers. It has influential patrons, including ballerinas Darcey Bussell and Marianela Nuñez, and a commitment to live music and new design. Synergies, NEBT’s debut programme, had some lively dancing and good music, but too much thin choreography.