i Father Christmas, annual giftgiver

Not a regular in the public eye this one.

Album: Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker (EMI Classics)

The wealth of melodies contained in The Nutcracker, is all the more remarkable, as Simon Rattle suggests, for the depressive state of its composer.

Igor Talankin: Soviet director known for his Second World War morality films

Igor Talankin was a talented Soviet director and a mentor to others. Many of his films are set during the Second World War and discuss moral issues, but his greatest international success – and an Oscar nomination – came with his biopic of Tchaikovsky in 1969. It is perhaps his least-subtle film; with the composer played by Innokenti Smoktunovsky, the best-known Russian actor of the time, and its safe – not to say leaden – approach to the genre and the subject, it was nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar. Bizarrely it also qualified for original score, its music being a patchwork of original and pastiche Tchaikovsky by the producer Dmitri Tiomkin who, before becoming a successful Hollywood composer, had been a concert pianist in post-Revolutionary Leningrad.

Album: Alice Sara Ott, Tchaikovsky, Liszt: First Piano Concertos (Deutsche Grammophon)

Having demonstrated her command of the delicate intimacies and melodious melancholy of Chopin on this year's recording of his Complete Waltzes, Alice Sara Ott here goes to the opposite extreme, hammering out the melodramatic opening chords of Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor", then riding its waves of emotion with a firm hand as it sails through the bittersweet Andantino semplice into the wistful but rousing final movement.

Onegin, Royal Opera House, London

Lukewarm love in a cold climate

Cinderella, Coliseum, London

English National Ballet celebrates its 60th birthday this year, with a summer season of Cinderella. And doesn't the company look good! Michael Corder's choreography is full of classical steps, showing off strong footwork, clean lines and a sense of shared identity. At 60, English National Ballet looks happy and confident.

Eugene Onegin, Royal Opera House, London<br/>The Man and Men, Hill Street Theatre, Edinburgh<br/>The Prodigal Son / The Homecoming, Arcola, London

The Bolshoi's radical and searing production of Tchaikovsky's opera of young love spurned is thrillingly staged and sung

Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin, Bolshoi Opera/ Royal Opera House

Dmitri Tcherniakov’s revelatory staging of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin unfolds in rich Chekovian detail and with such an acute behavioural eye that at times one feels more of a participant than an observer.

Francesca da Rimini, Opera Holland Park, London<br/>Prom 26, Royal Albert Hall, London

'Francesca' is dangerously foxy, but catch her if you can

Album: Dvor&#225;k, Symphonies 8 & 9 &ndash; BFO/Fischer (Channel Classics)

Inside the cover of this disc is a map of old New York. Here is East 17th Street, where Dvorák wrote his Ninth Symphony, "From the New World" in 1893. It's a red herring, as it happens, for Ivá*Fischer's performance with the Budapest Festival Orchestra looks East, exploring the influence of Tchaikovsky on the Czech composer.

Anthony Rolfe Johnson: British tenor who excelled in the works of Britten, Mozart and Monteverdi

The British tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson was one of the finest exponents in his generation of the roles originally sung by Peter Pears in the operas of Benjamin Britten. However, his interpretations were in no way copies of the senior tenor's idiosyncratic versions; rather, they were recreations of the music that perfectly suited his own voice and style. His other favourite opera composers were Monteverdi and Mozart, while he sang the great Bach Passions and Handel oratorios throughout his career. As a recitalist he was a founder member of the Songmakers' Almanac and specialised in Schubert lieder and Britten's canticles. He also became an excellent conductor, especially of operas in which he had himself sung, such as Monteverdi's L'Orfeo.

Prom 9: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Sinaisky, Royal Albert Hall, London

It’s the highlight of every “Last Night”, the nation’s unofficial National Anthem, but for its composer Hubert Parry Jerusalem has proved as much of a millstone (as opposed to milestone) as Land of Hope and Glory has for Elgar.

Prom 4: RLPO/ Petrenko, Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra pulled off the not inconsiderable feat of acknowledging both the Schumann and Mahler anniversaries simultaneously with their Prom opener.

The Concert (15)

Radu Mihaileanu's comedy drama is a certified crowd-pleaser, though one can't help thinking it might have benefited from a little restraint.

Jue Wang, Wigmore Hall

Each new Chinese piano star comes with a tale attached, sometimes severely edited.

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