Mayerling, Royal Opera House, London

Kenneth MacMillan's Mayerling isn't a conventional choice for a first-time ballet. It traces the decline of Crown Prince Rudolf, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, from his marriage to his death in a suicide pact with his teenaged mistress. This really isn't The Nutcracker.

Royal Opera House mounts new education programme

TV bosses may be at loggerheads over the prime time viewing clash between Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor on the nation’s television sets.

Tristan und Isolde, Royal Opera House, London<br/>Werther, Grand Theatre, Leeds<br/>London Sinfonietta/John Adams, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

A musically intoxicating &lsquo;Tristan&rsquo; arouses rowdy passions as half the audience have a restricted view of the action

Wagner Tristan und Isolde, Royal Opera House, London

After his starkly minimalist Lulu one might have anticipated that director Christof Loy would deliver a Tristan und Isolde of unforgiving austerity.

Don Carlo, Royal Opera House, London

The heat generated by this scorching revival of Verdi's Don Carlo had little to do with burning heretics or indeed any aspect of Nicholas Hytner's lucid if rather passive staging, but rather the conducting of Semyon Bychkov whose drive and patience ensured that both the urgency and weight of history defining this great score were magnificently served.

Verdi Don Carlo, Royal Opera House, London

The heat generated by this scorching revival of Verdi’s Don Carlo had little to do with burning heretics or indeed any aspect of Nicholas Hytner’s lucid if rather passive staging but rather the conducting of Semyon Bychkov whose drive and patience ensured that both the urgency and weight of history defining this great score were magnificently served.

Linda di Chamounix, Royal Opera House

The prospect of four solid hours of un-staged opera is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most zealous of opera-fans, yet the Royal Opera House’s brief two-performance fling this week with Donizetti’s lesser known masterpiece is an absolute delight.

Chipmunk, Royal Opera House, London

Despite the notoriety associated with grime music, Chipmunk will always be the rapper you'd happily bring home to mum. It's a pity the Royal Opera House didn't see it that way. Perhaps the excessive security measures were rolled out for the benefit of Wiley, who as tardy and calamitous as he was during his swift set, hardly lived up to the hazards one suspects were bashed out in capital letters on the risk assessment (unless being late, a touch explicit and forgetting your words is considered a threat nowadays). While grime music may still be regarded as part of an urban social class that's better appreciated from a distance – by those who usually frequent Covent Garden for the likes of Linda di Chamounix – the genre's climb to the top of the charts has helped it to earn a more PG status.

Homage to Balanchine, Royal Opera House, London

The Mariinsky Ballet celebrates George Balanchine, in the only mixed bill of this London season. Sometimes they're on top of this choreography, sometimes not.

Homage to Balanchine/MariinskyBallet, Royal Opera House, London

The Mariinsky's performance of Balanchine's architectural masterpiece reduces a venerable work to a pile of rubble

Summer Collection, Clore Studio, Royal Opera House , London

This year's Summer Collection has new momentum. The Royal Opera House's biennial season of contemporary dance is a mix of guest companies, associate artists and in-house work. The new streamlined programme, curated by Theresa Beattie, is faster paced than in previous years, short numbers put briskly together.

Renowned conductor and wife die in suicide clinic

Renowned conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife, who died together in an assisted suicide clinic, were devoted to each other, the musician's manager said today.

Break a leg... Unfortunately the leading lady did, but the show went on

They say it is not over until the fat lady sings – now it turns out that it is not even over when the diva breaks a leg. There cannot be a professional performer treading the boards with a better story about how they stuck to the rule that the show must go on than self-styled 'Yankee diva' Joyce DiDonato, who will be appearing on stage tonight at the Royal Opera House in a new production of Rossini's opera Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville).

Rossini, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Royal Opera House, London

Rossini’s Barber of Seville is packed with showstoppers; but when did we last see it cast at such strength, sung with such tongue and vocal chord twisting relish, and conducted with such panache that every number did just that – stopped the show? Answer: the current revival of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s wild and wacky staging at the Royal Opera House.

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

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Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

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Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

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The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

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Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

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MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

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A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

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Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

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Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee