Six hour opera with real helicopters and a dancing camel to premiere in Birmingham

Members of a string quartet have clambered aboard four helicopters to practise ahead of the world premiere of an opera which features an airborne performance and a dancing camel.

Plácido Domingo's Operalia Winners, Royal Opera House, London

Opera isn’t really Olympic, because a prize is just the start. A great singer grows, matures, transforms – and three generations of vocal giants arrived at Covent Garden, ready to prove it.

Observations: A vocal athlete's new workout

"I stopped because I felt that I wasn't able to deliver the performances I had been able to before," says the opera star Sally Burgess who retired in 2010. "Singers are vocal athletes and so I stopped before I wasn't good enough."

Götterdammerung, Longborough Festival Opera

There’s no such thing as "can’t" – and the proof is alive and well at Longborough Festival Opera. While lyric theatres around the world might quake at the prospect of staging Wagner’s Ring Cycle – the expense, the pressure, the “controversial productions” - a converted barn in the Cotswold countryside is simply getting on with it, opera by opera, building up to the complete tetralogy for next year’s Wagner bicentenary. Götterdammerung, its climax, is also its ultimate challenge.

Album: Al Ayre Español Handel's Memories: A Selection from Grand Concertos Op 6 (Challenge Classics)

Handel composed his Grand Concertos Op 6 in affectionate emulation of Corelli's Concerti Grossi Op 6 from a quarter-century earlier; and, astonishingly, completed all 12 within a single month, thanks to liberal quoting from his previous work.

Verdi Otello, Royal Opera House, London

It is the most resplendent of vocal fanfares that brings Otello to the stage in Verdi’s wonderful opera and Aleksandrs Antonenko - the latest in a most distinguished lineage (including Vickers and Domingo) to have strode into the tempest-tossed opening of Elijah Moshinsky’s ageless staging - at once raised the temperature in the house cleaving the air with his trumpet-toned delivery.

The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess, Cape Town Opera, London Coliseum

Behind poster images of iconic black crusaders - from Nelson Mandela to Steve Biko - the township that is Catfish Row is revving up for another day. And such is the pumping dynamism of the Cape Town Opera ensemble that you can barely hear George Gershwin’s tumultuous xylophone-driven prelude for the hollering and whistling.

Stockhausen took 26 years to write his 'Light' cycle

Heads Up: Wednesday from Light

Opera aims sky high with 150 performers and four helicopters

Paul Heaton Presents The 8th, Barbican, London


“You looked confused at some points,” amiably admits Paul Heaton after overseeing his confusing and long-winded soul opera, The 8th.

Bryn Fest, Royal Festival Hall, London

There could be no Bryn Fest (Terfel, that is) without show tunes. But the spectacle of the great Welsh bass-baritone arriving on stage sporting a wrap-around "Madonna" mic is not one I care to repeat in a hurry. He wasn’t alone, of course, but such ugly, obtrusive, devices had no place in The Golden Age of Broadway where the great and the good somehow managed without them - and even in the age of radio head-mics adequate amplification can generally be managed with a high degree of invisibility. This wasn’t the O2 Arena, it was the Royal Festival Hall. So why?

Luke Blackall: Let's hear it for Damon's unsafe bets

Man About Town: Albarn and Norris's opera is a revelation, and a refreshing change from the norm

The Emperor's New Clothes: The Italians

The Italians who face England tonight think they are better dressed, better fed, better lovers. Simmy Richman begs to differ

Everybody's Talking About: Billy Budd, ENO, London

Today's hot ticket

Derek Hammond-Stroud: Acclaimed baritone

The baritone Derek Hammond-Stroud was remarkably versatile, encompassing lieder and opera from Gilbert and Sullivan to Wagner and Richard Strauss.

Amar Muchhala as Mo

Song of the suicide bomber

An opera about British terrorists planning an attack? Arifa Akbar asks the creators of 'Babur in London' how they negotiated a cultural minefield

Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference