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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn