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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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
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home