La Traviata, Coliseum, London

We were promised surprises in Peter Konwitschny’s ‘La Traviata’, and the first comes at the start.

Album review: Oliver Knussen, Britten: The Rape of Lucretia (Virgin Classics)

Though expertly performed by a cast that includes Ian Bostridge and Susan Gritton as the Male and Female Chorus, and Angelika Kirchschlager as the hapless Lucretia, there's not an awful lot to love about The Rape of Lucretia.

Opera Holland Park, London.

Michael Volpe: ‘I want us to put on an opera – and in we plunge’

The first of a monthly report from Michael Volpe on the trials of staging a show

When a wet tenor wowed Woody Allen

The director made him sing in the shower, Fabio Armiliato tells Jessica Duchen

Oswald 'not lone gunman,' says Robert F Kennedy Jnr

Robert F Kennedy Jnr is convinced a lone gunman was not solely responsible for the assassination of his uncle, John F Kennedy, and said his father was disparaging about the official report into the killing.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks at the Opera House in Damascus in this still image taken from video

Army was the target audience of President's theatre at the opera house

The message for Syrians was clear: the army is the bedrock of power

IoS classical preview of 2012: Plan ahead to catch composers' anniversaries, rarities and evergreens

As the Southbank Centre braces itself for a year of Noise (see feature, page 58), and opera-lovers contemplate a feast of Britten, Verdi and Wagner, lutenist Paul O'Dette explores the melancholy and wit of 450-year-old John Dowland on Thursday at London's Wigmore Hall. Kasper Holten directs Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera House from 4 February, Welsh National Opera enters a new era as Lulu opens at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, on 8 February, and Scottish Opera pays a belated centenary tribute to Massenet with Pia Furtado's production of Werther at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, from 15 February.

One To Watch: Corinne Winters, opera singer, 29

"I love rock, but I'm definitely meant to be in the opera world", says the American soprano who will make her European debut next month singing the female lead in ENO's La Traviata.

Page 3 Profile: Stephen Hawking, physicist

Another incredible discovery for the world famous scientist?

Aleksandra Kurzak

Review of 2012: Classical

A 3D cinema version of Swan Lake will be aired live

London Symphony Orchestra director takes sides with Putin against Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot’s Moscow church protest, which resulted in a two-year prison sentence for members of the punk group, was motivated by a desire to create controversy to boost their careers, Russia’s leading conductor has suggested.

Behind the scenes: Royal Opera House’s High House

The only way is opera! Essex gets a cultural boost

The arts are flourishing in Thurrock, despite the town being voted the most miserable in Britain this year

Another fight at the opera as La Scala puts Verdi behind Wagner

Controversy is never far away from The Scala and its season opener

Italians upset by La Scala's decision to kick off season with German composer Wagner and not local hero Verdi

Richard Wagner's Lohengrin kicks off La Scala's season on Friday with the renowned Milanese theatre under fire for choosing the German maestro over local hero Giuseppe Verdi on the biggest night of the year for the world of opera.

IoS album review: Scott Walker, Bish Bosch (4AD)

The imperative to make it easy on yourself is one which Walker shows no signs of obeying. Bish Bosch, the latest in a series of challenging and experimental works from the former 1960s balladeer, throws the listener right in at the deep end with "See You Don't Bump His Head", on which, over a low but insistent digital beat, Walker intones lines such as "While plucking feathers from a swan song, shit might pretzel Christ's intestines". The sun, very clearly, ain't gonna shine any more.

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