i Father Christmas, annual giftgiver

Not a regular in the public eye this one.

Debrief: Tom Randle’s Captain, left, and Leigh Melrose as the titular anti-hero in Wozzeck

Classical review: Wozzack, The Helmand years

ENO's new production of Berg's 1925 opera draws parallels with servicemen's lives in Afghanistan

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

'Dancers: Behind the Scenes with the Royal Ballet' is published by Oberon Books on 2 April

All smiles with Carlos and company's peep show

The Russian dancer Andrej Uspenski who is a First Artist at the Royal Ballet began taking photographs of his colleagues about two years ago. Now his coffee-table book of photographs, Dancers: Behind the Scenes with the Royal Ballet, which is published next month, gives an insider's view of the Royal Ballet.

Ava June (right): Lyric soprano equally at home with Britten, Wagner and Italian romantic opera

Ava June: Lyric soprano equally at home with Britten, Wagner and Italian romantic opera

Her portrayal of Tosca in the 1970s was described by one critic as 'valiant and touching'

Van Cliburn: Piano virtuoso who helped thaw US-Soviet relations

New York reserves its tickertape parades for returning heroes – and in 1958 America had no greater hero than a young concert pianist from Texas named Van Cliburn. That spring he had travelled to Moscow to take part in the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition, an event intended to showcase Russian superiority in classical music. And, against every rational probability of that Cold War era, Cliburn won.

Nao Sakuma as Princess Badr Al Budur and Cesar Morales as Aladdin

Aladdin, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham

“But it isn’t Christmas,” was the response when I mentioned Birmingham Royal Ballet’s shiny new production of Aladdin

Tatyana, Barbican Theatre, London

Tatyana, Barbican Theatre, London

In Deborah Colker’s danced version of the Eugene Onegin story, multiple Tatyanas yearn for half a dozen Onegins, while scrambling over the branches of a giant tree. The acrobatics often blur the ideas. Colker’s dancers are fearless, but the risks aren’t always expressive.

At a screen near you: The Last of the Haussmans, live from the NT

Event cinema: live screenings of opera and ballet are the British new wave

Today's blockbusters are more likely to be live screenings of opera or ballet than the latest Hollywood movie. Jonathan Owen reports

Boneless: Serpent, a new work by Liam Scarlett for BalletBoyz: The Talent

Dance review: BalletBoyz: The Talent - Welcome to the muscle bank

Bodies honed for heavy industry strut like Greek gods, while a cruel young cad reforms too late

Onegin, Royal Opera House, London

John Cranko’s Onegin feels like the ballet-of-the-opera, a watered-down version of a stronger story.

The Nutcracker, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Scottish Ballet’s Nutcracker is a deliberate step away from Christmas sugar. There’s a cartoon edge to Antony McDonald’s designs, while choreographer Ashley Page is determined to make the story darker, even when that goes against the grain of Tchaikovsky’s score. A bright company performance adds a lot of warmth and sparkle.

Reverie, Lucy Parham, Henry Goodman, Wigmore Hall, London

Pianist Lucy Parham is practiced at presenting composers’ lives in words and music with the aid of actors, and Debussy is her latest. Not such an easy nut to crack as Schumann – no equivalent of the Robert-and-Clara household diaries – but as a letter-writer Debussy held forth with an engaging blend of pride and prejudice, hedonism and misanthropy.

Isabelle van Keulen, Brautigam, Wigmore Hall, London

Violinist Isabelle van Keulen is one of Holland’s most gifted chamber players, while the Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam is world-famed for his mastery of the fortepiano, and their joint recital aroused great expectations.

Starry night: English National Ballet’s sparkling Nutcracker

IoS dance review: English National Ballet, Coliseum, London

Stay focused, guys! The boss has got her tutu on …

Last night's viewing - Imagine: A Beauty Is Born – Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, BBC1; Wartime Farm Christmas, BBC2

There are few choreographers who have dared to do what Matthew Bourne has done. Who could have envisaged an all-male corps de ballet in Swan Lake at a time when it caused no small measure of outrage?

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Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

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The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
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The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
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The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

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Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

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Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
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KidZania: It's a small world

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