Album review: Taverner Consort & Players, Monteverdi: L'Orfeo (Avie)

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Andrew Parrott and his Taverner Consort & Players have aptly chosen to record the first great operatic masterwork, Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883), German composer, conductor, critic and author, circa 1860.

Germany celebrates bicentennial of Richard Wagner

Germany today celebrated the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner, the 19th-century composer whose music has been hailed as sublime art at the height of Western culture even as he remains tainted by his visceral anti-Semitic views, which later found favour with the Nazis.

American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato leads the cast of La Donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House

La Donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House: Starry cast all set to make waves

Gioachino Rossini's La Donna del Lago (“The Lady of the Lake”), which has just opened at the Royal Opera House, is an operatic rarity of the first order – hardly ever performed, according to its director, John Fulljames, because its leading roles are so demanding. “You have to have the right constellation of stars to pull it off,” he says. “That only happens once in a generation.”

A recording studio in the garden: How creativity comes in shedloads

People like a shed – especially if they are creative. For writers it is often a peaceful bolt-hole.

Elena Zhidkova (Venus), Daniel Frank (Tannhäuser)

Controversial Nazi-themed staging of Wagner's Tannhäuser pulled because audiences 'forced to seek medical help' after watching

A controversial staging of Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser set in a concentration camp during the Holocaust has been cancelled after it proved so shocking some audience-members were forced to seek medical help after watching.

Classical review: Verdi’s Ballo, King’s Head Theatre, London

The news that OperaUpClose were planning to stage Verdi’s A Masked Ball in an IKEA store did not sound promising, as we’d been there before. In 2009 Flatpack Opera made Wembley IKEA the venue and subject of a work whose audience was joined by bemused shoppers, not all of whom were keen to be plunged into an art event which began in the bedsit department and ended in kitchens. At least OperaUpClose were doing it in a kosher theatre.

Beach boy: Aldeburgh, where Benjamin Britten swam every morning

Heads Up: Britten in Aldeburgh

Grimeswatch: in the concert hall, on the beach, round town …

Floraleda Sacchi, Philip Glass: Metamorphosis (Amadeus Arte)

Album review: Floraleda Sacchi, Philip Glass: Metamorphosis (Amadeus Arte)

Floraleda Sacchi's harp lends itself particularly well to the minimalist logic of Philip Glass's progressions on this anthology of transpositions, never better than on the “Opening” from Glassworks, where the bass pulse beds beautifully among the mirroring figures of the theme.

Still from YouTube's most-watched video in the UK - 'Charlie bit my finger - again!'

YouTube's top five most-viewed videos in the UK, as the site turns eight

It's hard to believe it, but it's internet giant YouTube's eighth birthday today.

All ears: Michael Volpe’s daughter, Fiora

The birth of a new opera: Children know the score when it comes to songs

In his latest dispatch, Michael Volpe reveals how music is crucial to Alice

Star tenor Jonas Kaufmann

Classical review: Jonas Kaufmann, Philharmonia, Rieder, Royal Festival Hall, London

Verdi or Wagner? Posing the musical question of the year, tenor Jonas Kaufmann answers it by saying that he has vacillated between them, unable to decide whose music he prefers. He finally declares that they are mutually beneficial: "After singing Wagner you have an extra dose of power for the drama in Verdi, and after singing Verdi, it is much easier to sing Wagner, as the composer intended, with Italian legato." It was this latter course that he adopted at the Royal Festival Hall, backed by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Jochen Rieder.

The Answer to Everything: When a house is not a home

The Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne have relayed live operas to cinemas. But for the first time next week, an opera will premiere at a London cinema.

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo

Placido Domingo to receive ceremonial Freedom of the City of London

Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo is in the UK today to receive the ceremonial Freedom of the City of London.

Classical review: Sunken Garden, Barbican, London

In Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell's collaboration with Michel van der Aa we neither know nor care what is going on - it is a work of remarkable arrogance

George Benjamin Day conducting

George Benjamin Day, Wigmore Hall, London

Ethnomusicologists are like bees, with melodies being the pollen they transfer from culture to culture. In the 1950s the great American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax went on a song-collecting trip to Italy, and brought back recordings of a wealth of music which is now mostly extinct.

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