Arts and Entertainment

Last autumn Helene Grimaud released a fine recording of Brahms’ piano concertos under the baton of Andris Nelsons: to hear them perform the second concerto live with the Philharmonia Orchestra was to realise anew what a superb symbiosis they can achieve.

Prom 9: Barenboim/West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London

Audacious, perhaps, to lure an audience of thousands with promises of Beethoven, then let Pierre Boulez steal the show. Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra placed Boulez’s Dérive 2, a work for 11 musicians that lasts for 50 unbroken minutes, at the core of the first evening of its complete Beethoven symphonies cycle. The result: a revelation.

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.

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.

'Ow 'Liza and the BBC Proms is doing 'My Fair Lady'?

Eliza Doolittle will screech in Cockney and sing posh as the quintessential London musical "My Fair Lady", a product of the Broadway stage, makes its BBC Proms debut on Saturday in a lavish production that owes a debt to Hollywood.

Le nozze di Figaro, Gylndebourne, East Sussex
East Neuk Festival, East Neuk, Fife

Figaro and I renew our vows, for one night only

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?

Tom Hodgkinson: 'Do women consider the ukulele sexy?'

Twitter is a terrible distraction for writers and journalists. The deadline is hanging over you and all you can do is waste time scrolling through hundreds of unsatisfying attempts at aphoristic wit.

Sounds Venezuela, Southbank Centre, London

Classical music has never enjoyed a more successful a marketing campaign than that promoting Gustavo Dudamel, the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, and the proliferation of Jose Antonio Abreu’s visionary Sistema.

Rapt audience: Bernard Haitink tutors Gad Kadosh

Bernard Haitink: A maestro passes on his baton to the next generation

It's tough to make it as a conductor – so when 20 young stars were asked to perform for the great Bernard Haitink, the pressure was on.  reports

London 2012 Festival performers to receive special assistance to avoid delays at immigration

Performers taking part in the largest cultural festival Britain has ever staged, which launches on Thursday to mark the Olympic Games, will receive special assistance to avoid delays at immigration.

Billy Budd, English National Opera, London

The sight of Kim Begley's old and broken Captain Vere silently mouthing Billy Budd's death sentence as it is read out in the final scene of Britten's opera will be one of the enduring images of David Alden’s new English National Opera production.

The Queen of Spades, Grange Park, Hampshire
Così fan tutte, Holland Park, London

This impressive staging of Tchaikovsky's opera manages to be both playful, and deadly serious

La Bohème, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Glyndebourne

More Basildon than Bastille, David McVicar’s grungy staging of La Bohème heralded the new millennium amidst concrete and steel, fire hazards and fire escapes, chavs and chav nots, bringing our “bohemians” into the here and now with a cynical nod or two at our own struggling youth culture and the slightly surreal sensation of stepping in from tea at Glyndebourne’s Mildmay room to an urban jungle where the only splash of colour is a street poster for Bohème in, naturally, the style of the art nouveau period.

Opening ceremony orchestra is silenced

Musicians in the London Symphony Orchestra will have to mime their performance in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics because a live performance is deemed too risky.

Turkish pianist Fazil Say charged over Islam 'insult'

An internationally known Turkish pianist and composer has been charged with insulting Islamic religious values in comments he made on Twitter.

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