First Night: George Michael - Symphonica Tour, State Opera House, Prague

Holding back the tears, Michael restores faith in a magical voice

Album: Mara Carlyle, Floreat (Ancient and Modern)

Unwise as it may be to declare an album is destined to become a classic, I've no reservations in doing so in regard to this long awaited follow-up to The Lovely.

Ten Plagues, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

An account of the London plague is a strong choice of subject for a song cycle, and this Traverse production is already a festival highlight and a triumph for the singer Marc Almond, writer Mark Ravenhill, composer Conor Mitchell and director-designer Stewart Laing.

Rufus Wainwright and Loudon Wainwright III, Royal Opera House, London<br/>John Grant, 100 Club, London

The best of families fall out, but they don't all get a chance to iron out their differences in front of an audience paying hundreds to see the reconciliation

Tom Sutcliffe: When shock value is the soft option

The week in culture

Rufus &amp; Martha Wainwright, Royal Opera House, London

Rarely has there been a more affably erudite performer than Rufus Wainwright. As he cracks a one-liner about Richard Wagner on stage at the Royal Opera House, his sister Martha – with whom he shares the stage tonight – and the crowd chuckle. Moments later, the siblings burst into a cover of Elton John and Kiki Dee's 1976 number one "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", during a performance also including work by Edith Piaf, Leonard Cohen and their late mother, Kate McGarrigle, as well as original material from both Wainwright children. This is not under any circumstances a traditional gig.

Rufus Wainwright: Wild nights at the opera

Rufus Wainwright's five-concert residency at the Royal Opera House is the longest ever for a soloist. He's worth it, he tells Victoria-Anne Bull

The Weekend's TV: Stolen, Sun, BBC1<br/>Secrets of the Pop Song, Sat, BBC2

Captivated by these superb young actors

Singing to a popular tune: Rufus Wainwright at the Royal Opera House

Over the past few years, the Royal Opera House, bastion of high culture and one of the Britain&rsquo;s biggest arts organisations, has shown a knack for generating populist appeal.

Guillemots - A band back in fine feather

After a second album which took them away from the warm hues of their lauded debut, Gillian Orr finds Guillemots going back to basics

Story of the Song: Across the Universe by The Beatles in 1968 and Beady Eye in 2011

Beady Eye's choice of song for their charity release in support of the Japanese disaster relief effort is more than appropriate.

Joan As Police Woman, Komedia, Brighton

Joan Wasser, the New York singer-songwriter who goes by the fabulously barmy moniker Joan As Police Woman, may not yet be loved by the masses but she is a woman with an impeccable pedigree. A classically trained violinist, Wasser has played violin with the Boston University Symphony Orchestra, recorded with Antony Hegarty, performed with Rufus Wainwright and played sessions with Elton John. With her just-released LP, The Deep Field, she now has three beautifully-crafted, critically adored albums under her belt and a voice that can make even the most wooden-hearted listener weep. In short, she has paid her dues and done her time. So you have to wonder why Wasser now finds herself playing the second date of her tour in a cramped subterranean venue that conspires to suck the life and spontaneity out of any performance.

Assume the position! Sing like a canary

The classical violinist only recently found her voice, and what a voice it is, says Fiona Sturges

Observations: Proving the doubter wrong

The Georgian-born 54 year-old American soul singer Sharon Jones is smarting at the memory, 25 years ago, of a record company A&R man discussing her potential as a recording artist.

Rufus Wainwright, Royal Albert Hall, London

Rufus Wainwright is the Jekyll and Hyde of the modern-day music scene – on one hand bursting with pleasantries, effusive and adorable in the extreme, on the other, dour, introspective, angry and indulgent.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project