Opera

Turning up the voice of America

The warm crackle and hiss of AM radio lives on in the US, and is about to get a boost that could put it back at the heart of communities

Review: Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble, Milton Court Concert Hall,

The Berlin Phil, the Gewandhaus, and the CBSO have long done it, and now the Mariinsky are doing it too: sending a posse of top instrumentalists as chamber-music outriders to their main orchestral push. Making their British debut under Valery Gergiev in the Guildhall's new Milton Court auditorium, the Stradivarius Ensemble went through their paces with three works which showcased their instruments as much as their talent. For these were no ordinary instruments: Strads and Guarneris, Guandinis and Amatis, all from the golden age of string manufacture.

Michael Church: The Proms – a colossal ensemble work with a few duff

o farewell to another Proms season, with its pleasures and surprises, longueurs and banalities. Moments I will long remember: blind pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii making something rich and luminous out of Rach Two, Ex Cathedra debating love in a babel of unknown tongues, the Tallis Scholars delivering transcendent a cappella polyphony, Nigel Kennedy (pictured) orientalising Vivaldi with the Palestine Strings. Most of these were Late Proms. There's a magic in the Royal Albert Hall when the streets outside go quiet and minds are sharpened.

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Classical review: Tosca - Adam Spreadbury-Maher's production doesn't

OperaUpClose specialises in bold transpositions, best exemplified by its witty setting of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera in an IKEA store. For Tosca their writer-director Adam Spreadbury-Maher has effected a different kind of transposition, but one which is entirely logical.

Opera's double act: Kristine Opolais and Andris Nelsons

It's a family affair at the Proms. The Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais, 33, will be conducted by her husband Andris Nelsons (both left) of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. She will perform Desdemona's “Willow Song” and “Ave Maria” from Act 3 of Verdi's 1887 opera Otello and Tatyana's letter scene from Tchaikovsky's 1879 opera Eugene Onegin.