Sadler's Wells

Don Garrard: Bass who made his name with the Sadler's Wells company

The Canadian bass Don Garrard sang in the UK for over 20 years, with the Royal Opera, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, and above all with Sadler's Wells, now English National Opera. He had a natural authority, both of voice and bearing, that served him well in roles such as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Prince Gremin in Tchaikowsky's Eugene Onegin and the Grand Inquisitor in Verdi's Don Carlos. The warmth of his voice and personality also allowed him to play loving fathers with equal facility; among these Daland in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman and Arkel in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande are good examples. His singing was also much appreciated in Canada and the US.

I Don't Believe in Outer Space, Sadler's Wells, London

The tone for William Forsythe's I Don't Believe in Outer Space is set by dancer Dana Caspersen, who acts out both sides of a conversation with such exaggerated physical and vocal mannerisms that she becomes a postmodernist Gollum act.

Wayne McGregor/Random Dance, Sadler's Wells, London

Wayne McGregor's dancers move as if they have a few more vertebrae than the rest of us. They are rarely relaxed or neutral. Backs arch, buttocks jut, shoulders hunch and wrists twist. For all the curlicues, they dance with attack and clarity, both mannered and highly articulate.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Sadler's Wells, London

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which kicks off a UK tour at Sadler's Wells, is best known for Revelations. Created by Alvin Ailey in 1960, it showcases the strength of the dancers, and the company's roots in modern dance and African-American culture.

Political Mother, Sadler's Wells, London

This first full-length work by Hofesh Shechter is driven by the beat. Dancers lope and stamp through folk-inflected steps, picked out by spotlights or vanishing into blackness. Shechter adds winding Eastern lines, thunderous drums and electric guitar, but it's the drumbeat that powers this dance.

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Rufus Wainwright, Sadler's Wells, London

At the start of the second half of this extraordinary concert, Rufus Wainwright laughingly confessed that he had been "shitting bricks" over his performance in the first half. No wonder. Before the interval he had treated us to a stunning rendition of his new album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, presented as a kind of Beckettian monodrama. An official had requested that we did not applaud the separate numbers, that we should hold back until the very end "as the exit is part of the performance". So was the entrance, and then some.

Our culture critics’ picks for 2010

From Picasso’s politics to ‘The Prisoner’ and Beethoven to Big Boi, our experts choose their cultural highlights for the next 12 months