i Father Christmas, annual giftgiver

Not a regular in the public eye this one.

Swan Lake, Royal Albert Hall, London

English National Ballet's gargantuan Swan Lake-in-the-round is back, complete with dry ice, demon king entrances and a starry new prince. Vadim Muntagirov, ENB's boy wonder, made his debut at this performance.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Wigmore Hall, London

Dmitri Hvorostovsky dedicated his first Wigmore recital in many years to the great Russian mezzo Irina Arkhipova – a voice which by all accounts set this hall vibrating for days after the event. It’s interesting what the size of a hall and the type of acoustic can do for a voice.

The Sleeping Beauty, London Coliseum

Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty is a very courtly fairytale, packed with demanding pure dance and formal storytelling. The dancers of Birmingham Royal Ballet respond to both sides, with vivid mime and some easy, confident dancing.

Irina Arkhipova: Mezzo celebrated for her portrayal of Bizet's Carmen

The Russian mezzo Irina Arkhipova was one of the finest singers to come out of the Soviet Union in the period after the Second World War. Her voice was wide in range and even throughout its compass, with no perceptible "gear change" between the registers. Perfectly suited, vocally and dramatically, to the operas of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky and Prokofiev, she also sang the great Verdi mezzo roles, in particular Amneris in Aida and Azucena in Il trovatore, with great success, both in Russian and Italian. Her favourite non-Russian part, however, was the heroine of Bizet's Carmen. In a career that lasted over 40 years she appeared at La Scala, Milan, the Paris Opéra, Covent Garden and other Western opera houses, but her home theatre was always the Bolshoi in Moscow.

Album: Rachmaninov, Symphonic Dances / Vasily Petrenko (Avie)

At the age of 20, Rachmaninov impressed Tchaikovsky with his fantasy for orchestra, "The Rock", and presented the score to Rimsky-Korsakov.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky & Anna Netrebko, Royal Festival Hall, London

They made for an interesting couple: he, svelte and knowing, his black velvet tails and shock of silver hair suggesting he might briefly have taken leave from Twilight or some other nocturnal vampire tale; she, girlishly innocent and ripe for his attentions.

Oper Opis, Barbican Theatre, London<br/>The Snow Queen, Coliseum, London

After an opening that is, literally, well balanced, a Swiss collaboration descends into a free-for-all

Building a Library, Radio 3<br/>Private Passions, Radio 3<br/>Breakfast, Radio 3

While some presenters try too hard, many celebrate classical music without a fuss. Just brace yourself for a glut of Chopin and Schumann

Swan Lake, Sadler&rsquo;s Wells, London<br/>The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House, London

Muscular swans, prancing sweets...it must be the start of a new dancing year

Album: Gautier Capu&ccedil;on, Valery Gergiev, Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme; Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante (Virgin Classics)

The pairing of Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme with Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante is not uncommon but I'm not convinced it plays to Gautier Capuçon's strengths.

Party of the Week - A cracking time was had by all...

Emma Thompson and Cherie Blair hugged each other like long-lost friends outside the English National Ballet's party at London's St Martins Lane Hotel, before a gala Christmas performance of The Nutcracker.

Kavakos/Lugansky/Tamestit/Capucon, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Leonidas Kavakos’ last concert as “An Artist in Focus” at the South Bank began with a postscript – a substantial one – to the recent Alfred Schnittke festival.

The Nutcracker, Royal Opera House, London

Magic Miyako's plum swansong

Tchaikovsky The Tsarina&rsquo;s Slippers, Royal Opera House, London

The words Tchaikovsky and Comedy don’t usually occur in the same sentence – and you may still be of that opinion after sitting through this expensively gift-wrapped but decidedly bland and singularly unfunny staging of the composer’s big-hearted Gogol adaptation.

Tchaikovsky, The Tsarina&rsquo;s Slippers, Royal Opera House

The words Tchaikovsky and Comedy don’t usually occur in the same sentence – and you may still be of that opinion after sitting through this expensively gift-wrapped but decidedly bland and singularly unfunny staging of the composer’s big-hearted Gogol adaptation.

Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent