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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

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