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Tune Hotels offers a budget pre-Christmas stay in the English and Scottish capitals, with double rooms for £50 at some London properties and £25 in Edinburgh. These rates apply on a few nights between now and Christmas, with availability good on 23, 24 and 25 December.

Classical music: The biggest hitter in percussion today

Evelyn Glennie, Leonard Slatkin

Minor's major work


Music: Just singing, singing in the rain

OPEN the Garsington Festival programme-book, and the first thing you find is an advertisement for Hello! magazine - which tells you something about the sort of people you're probably sitting next to. But in the past 10 years - and yes, it is now a decade since Leonard Ingrams started sharing opera with his neighbours - Garsington has managed to transcend the social and the decorative. It's a deadly serious undertaking, with a track record that includes the rediscovery of Haydn's virtually forgotten stage-works and the re-evaluation of rare Strauss scores. And few things could be more serious (or potentially more deadly) than Lucio Silla, which opened there on Tuesday.

Christmas broadcast for Silent Night's lost verses

Three forgotten verses of "Silent Night", Britain's favourite carol, have been rediscovered in an Austrian manuscript more than 200 years after they were penned by a penurious priest, writes Vanessa Thorpe.

Seven killed in gun rampage

Seven killed in gun rampage

The Skier's Guide To Austria

countries, writes Tania Alexander

Skiing: High season, low tech

You don't need such hi-tech facilities as lifts and cable cars to go skiing - with the right equipment you can simply clamber up the mountains. Richard Holledge goes touring at the tiny Austrian resort of Kuhtai.

Interview: `Othello' comes into his own at National

A co-production of `Othello' between the German director Peter Stein and Sam Mendes of the National Theatre offers both a fascinating contrast in cultural approaches and some surprising similarities

Edinburgh Festival: Music: Putting on a brave Front Not enough time, alas, for this 'Child' Flow of wisdom at the water's edge

Long traditions of democracy and meanness have made Britain rather good at the sort of festival that blurs the divide between professional and amateur, participant and listener. It gives everyone a chance. It doesn't cost like Salzburg. And a good example to put beside St Endellion, which I wrote about last week, is Lake District Summer Music: an annual event that merges a temporary academy for young string players with a public platform for distinguished artists who come both to play and teach.

1789 and all that

Roderic Dunnett enjoys a bold but not always audible staging of Von Einem's `Danton's Death' at the Brighton Festival; "Give Couthon my head, Robespierre my balls, and perhaps they'll stop baying in the streets."

Obituary: Brian Merrikin Hill

Brian Merrikin Hill was, in the last decades of his life, widely valued as a poet, a translator of poetry and as long-time editor of the poetry magazine Pennine Platform. Although not inclined to seek fame, he was regarded as a compeer by poets as distinguished as Kathleen Raine and David Gascoyne. The Blakean title of his 1984 book Wakeful in the Sleep of Time gives some indication of how seriously he viewed the poet's vocation.

Obituary: Sndor Vegh

The death of Sndor Vegh sees the passing of one of the last of the great Hungarian violinists who could trace their traditions back through Hubay and Joachim to the Italian violinist Viotti. Vegh was, throughout his long career, soloist, chamber musician, conductor and teacher, and it would be difficult to say in which of these activities he served best the cause of music. In other words, he was a giant, whose accomplishments are indelibly etched upon every one of his undertakings.

'Twas the nightie before Christmas


Making it a doddle for guests who toddle

Adrian Bridge tries to take the strain out of a family break

Brown heeds history lesson

Phil Gordon talks to the coach who is ready to learn from past mistakes
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General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power