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.

News
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
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A Bible for billionaires

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Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

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We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

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The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

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Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

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