Travel

Under £200... Capital Christmas shopping

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. tunehotels.com

Unlocking the castle doors

Bartok wrote Bluebeard for the opera house. Bernard Haitink finds it works best in the brain.

In the lion's den

Daniel Harding is set to become, at 20, the youngest conductor ever at the Proms. But can he silence the why-not-me cynics and avoid burn-out?

By Dawn's bright light

Dawn Upshaw hails from Nashville, but she's equally at home at Glyndebourne and on Broadway.

Jigsaw pieces that make up a musical miracle

First Person: Nicholas Kenyon, Controller of BBC Radio 3, tonight launches his first season as director of the BBC Proms, and considers the challenges

Obituary: Gottfried von Einem

Against the background of cultural uncertainty that inevitably followed the total destruction of Austria at the end of the Second World War, the organisers of the Salzburg Festival took the unusually bold step of featuring an entirely new opera by a virtually unknown composer for their 1947 Festival. The opera in question was Dantons Tod ("Danton's Death") by the 29-year-old Austrian Gottfried von Einem, and its overwhelming success served to launch von Einem almost immediately into the forefront of post-war musical activity in Central Europe.

A Salome driven up the wall by lust

MUSIC

Kaelin ends his seven-year wait

Skiing

Snow reports

Most parts of the Alps had snow over the holidays, but more is still needed. In general, Austria looks best - mid-week, all major resorts had all their lifts open, despite typical village snow depths of a modest 25cm. For more reassuring figures, head east (to Flachau, for example) or go high (to Obergurgl) or both (to Obertauern).

Austrian coalition fails to last year

ADRIAN BRIDGE

Obituary: Erich Kunz

When the Vienna State Opera company gave a short season at Covent Garden in the autumn of 1947, the baritone Erich Kunz sang three Mozart roles: Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Guglielmo in Cosi fan Tutte. His voice, light in timbre but strongly projected, and his stylish singing were greatly admired. It was not, however, his first appearance in Britain. During the summer of 1936 he had sung in the chorus of Glyndebourne and on one occasion had taken over the speaking part of the Pasha Selim in Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail from Carl Ebert, the director.

Edinburgh Festival; CAMERATA ACADEMICA / SANDOR VEGH; NDR SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA / GUNTER WAND, Usher Hall

Compared to the nonagenarian Sndor Vegh, the 83-year-old Gunter Wand is a mere boy. It seemed odd, therefore, that Vegh's way of playing Schubert with his Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum was, to a contemporary audience, so much more modern.

Summer Festivals SALZBURG

Gerard Mortier has gone a long way towards redefining the Salzburg Festival since he took over after Herbert von Karajan's death. Above all, he has restored the place of drama, now ruled over autonomously by Peter Stein. And Stein's new production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard is a triumph, an apparently effortless fusion of farce, beauty and tragedy.

Obituaries: Murray Dickie

Murray Dickie, the Scottish tenor, was for 25 years a member of the Vienna State Opera, but at the beginning of his career, in the immediate post-war years, he frequently sang at Covent Garden and Glyndebourne. He also appeared at La Scala, the Paris Opera, the Edinburgh, Holland, Salzburg and Bregenz Festivals, the Metropolitan Opera and many other theatres.

Sorenstam splashes to record

BILL JOHNSON

ARTS: CLASSICAL MUSIC; The disappearing maestros

Welcome to the latest global crisis - the world is rapidly running out of top-flight conductors, warns Norman Lebrecht
Career Services

Day In a Page

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
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
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