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

International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, Royal Festival Hall

A showcase for three young conductors, a malfunction at the printers, and for the first time in my experience no programmes for the audience and the prospect of blind-tasting their talents.

Bridging the Gulf: 'Beloved Friend' performed at the at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Royal Opera House makes its debut in Abu Dhabi

First, it was Harrods and then Manchester City football club – now the Gulf is buying culture. Last week, the Royal Opera House (ROH) made its debut in the Gulf, in the culturally thirsty region of the UAE. I decided to pack my bags and head off to the Arab premiere of Beloved Friend at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival.

Joshua Bell is the new director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Joshua Bell, Cadogan Hall, London
Carole Cerasi, Foundling Museum, London

Former teen virtuoso Joshua Bell has an orchestra all of his own to play with, but are two hands really enough?

Parsifal, Mariinsky/Gergiev, Barbican

Wagner made very sure people would pay attention to the meaning of the opera he called his 'farewell to the world', by decreeing that it should only be performed, like a sacred ritual, in his theatre in Bayreuth. And though it was conceived as – and undoubtedly is – a paean to peace and reconciliation, it has sowed remarkable discord among the cognoscenti.

Follow the lieder: Franz Schubert

The Week In Radio: Schubert shows it's easy to become hooked on classics

So, Schubert. He's inescapable, or at least he is on Radio 3. If you're not an admirer but a regular listener, you'll either have to decamp to Classic FM or seek refuge in silence which is, of course, unthinkable. I can't claim to be an authority on the composer since my knowledge of classical music can pretty much be summed up in Music for Babies, a CD that someone who didn't know me too well gave me when I was pregnant after it was claimed that exposure to classical music would increase my child's IQ. (To what extent it succeeded isn't clear). Pretty much all I know about Schubert is that he's the greatest songwriter since The Beatles. Hang on, that doesn't sound right....

Music 'soothes surgery patients'

Playing music to patients undergoing surgery reduces their anxiety and could improve healing, research suggests.

Champion of the Baroque: Sir Colin Davis speaks out

Celebrating his 85th birthday later this year, Sir Colin Davis has been one of Britain's best-loved conductors for more than half a century. The death of his wife, Shamsi, in June 2010, was a severe blow to him; since then, his activities have slowed. "I don't have the energy I used to," he remarks. "After performing a big piece, one feels one should be put out to grass, like an old donkey."

Travel Agenda: Australian Grand Prix; Christoph Hagel; British Airways' pop-up venue; River Cottage's The Pop-Up Hotel

Tomorrow: And they're off... the Australian Grand Prix gets under way in Melbourne this weekend, kicking off the 2012 Formula 1 season. It makes pit stops in 18 different cities before ending in Sao Paulo in November (formula1.com).

Elizabeth Connell: Mezzo and soprano acclaimed for her Verdi and Wagner interpretations

The opera singer Elizabeth Connell enjoyed 10 successful years as a mezzo before becoming a soprano and enjoying over two decades more of international acclaim.

Mozart, Don Giovanni, Royal Opera House

There is hell-fire enough at the close of Francesca Zambello’s 2002 staging of Don Giovanni to consume not just the Don but the entire production.

Resolution!, The Place, London

The Place’s Resolution! season is older than many of the artists appearing in it.

Christian Blackshaw, Wigmore Hall

Horses for courses: the question of which keyboard instruments suit which composers’ music is as pertinent now as it was when the harpsichord and fortepiano were competing for dominance in the 18 century.

Resolution! The Place, London

Hits, misses and chocolate kisses

Album: Various Artists, Lumières: Music Of The Enlightenment (Harmonia Mundi)

It might seem a fool's errand to attempt to encapsulate the musical developments of the 18th century in a single package, given the era's heavyweight talents include Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn.

Uchida/Davis/LSO, Barbican

On the London Symphony Orchestra’s website there’s a conversation between pianist Mitsuko Uchida and conductor Colin Davis in which they discuss the Beethoven and Nielsen works they are currently performing at the Barbican.

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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
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform