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

Le Poème Harmonique, ****/ Classical Opera, Piau, ***

I had not heard of Le Poème Harmonique, nor had I heard of the composers Etienne Moulinié or Charles Tessier (the Oxford Dictionary of Music hadn’t either), so this French ensemble’s recital of their music was an ear-opener.

Restaurant ‘concepts’ are so much sound and fury - why can't we just eat, drink and talk?

A down-at-heel interior doesn't make for an authentic dining experience. The same corporate forces are behind these shabby locales as McDonald's

The News Matrix: Friday 12 October 2012

UK set to end 10-year boycott of politician

Cuarteto Casals, Wigmore Hall, London

Teenage Franz Schubert’s prime goal may have been the composition of songs and symphonies, but he was also a prolific composer of string quartets, and this was virtually a social obligation.

Cultural Life: Jane Asher, Actress

Legacy: Samuel Beckett, icon of Modernist disenchantment

Enniskillen hosts Samuel Beckett festival

An international festival to celebrate the work of writer Samuel Beckett has begun in the town where the Nobel Prize winner went to school.

Prom 50: Collins, BBCSO, Vanska, ****/ Prom 51: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, *****

With eight exhumations, the BBC is trying desperately to make the case for Frederick Delius on his 150th anniversary, but these are only reinforcing the impression that this Bradford composer was a mere melodious also-ran.

Le nozze di Figaro, Gylndebourne, East Sussex
East Neuk Festival, East Neuk, Fife

Figaro and I renew our vows, for one night only

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.

Le Nozze di Figaro, Glyndebourne Festival Opera

It’s the age of long hair and raging hormones, wide lapels and wider collars, the age of new found “permissiveness” where the world and his dog are gagging for some extra-curricular congress and the great and good are headed for their lavish Spanish villas with or without the wife.

The Queen of Spades, Grange Park, Hampshire
Così fan tutte, Holland Park, London

This impressive staging of Tchaikovsky's opera manages to be both playful, and deadly serious

Glyndebourne Festival, Glyndebourne, East Sussex

A festival designed to dazzle whatever the weather

Sari Barabas: Opera singer celebrated at Glyndebourne

Sari Barabas was a glamorous Hungarian coloratura soprano who, despite the interruption of the Second World War when she was in her twenties, had a long and successful career in opera and operetta. She was a member of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich for 22 years and also sang in Vienna, London and, most memorably of all, perhaps, at Glyndebourne. For five summers during the 1950s she appeared there in three different operas, delighting audiences with her grace and beauty as well as her flexible voice.

The Sinking of the Titanic, Barbican Hall, London / Jakob Lenz, Hampstead Theatre, London / Don Giovanni, Heaven, London

Moving musical memories of 'Titanic', a sodden mystic and a drooling Don make the going soggy

Don Giovanni, Heaven, Villiers St, London

Between Mozart’s Don Giovanni and the Don Juan of myth yawns a gap: despite his list of claimed successes, none of the attempted seductions we see comes off.

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