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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn