Music: Tales of the more or less expected

ENO's new Tales of Hoffmann is a show that thinks big, looks big, fields big names, and addresses major points of musicology: a Company Statement if you ever saw one. And the input is impressive. But the output is equivocal: superb performances in need of a superb production, which they don't get from the stage director, Graham Vick.

DANCE: A Run for your money

After 30 years hard dance-making, you'd think that, like dear old Reggie Kray, they'd be thinking about giving Richard Alston time off for good behaviour - but he is still hard at it. His company's spring tour features several new works, including Red Run which receives its UK premiere in London on 4 March. ''There's a raunchy sound to the music [by Heiner Goebbels]. I've tried to make a piece that showed different aspects of the 10 individual dancers of the company."

The `castrato' with all his bits

The future is Baroque and bright for Brian Asawa, a counter-tenor from California. Nick Kimberley reports

Opening This Week: Opera

Snatched by the Gods/Broken Strings (Glasgow Theatre Royal, 0141 332 9000, Wed & Sat). Contemporary classic double bill by Anglo-Indian composer Param Vir.

People: Royal Opera director defects to the ENO

Nicholas Payne, director of the Royal Opera has defected to the English National Opera, where he will become general director. The move, predicted three weeks ago in The Independent, will be a blow to the Royal Opera House, only just recovering from a damning report by a House of Commons select committee. Indeed, the new ROH chairman, Sir Colin Southgate, said when he was appointed last month that he would not consider it to be a great start for him if Mr Payne left. Mr Payne had previously shown his disillusionment at Covent Garden, publicly describing remarks by former chairman Lord Chadlington about the opera company's finances as "bollocks".

Musical chairs as ENO make overtures to Payne

Nicholas Payne is being lined up to swap the Royal Opera for the English National Opera. Which will leave a Royal Opera vacancy. Then there's still Glyndebourne, and what about the South Bank Centre? David Lister predicts the results of a seemingly never-ending round of musical chairs.

Music: This is more like it, Royal Opera!

Of all the great relationships that never happened, few are so fascinating as a near-miss in the 1930s between two men who respectively became the leading English poet and composer of their time. The poet was Auden, who did all the running. The composer was Britten, who held back. And the evidence of what was going on survives in Auden's "Lay your sleeping head my love", which he scribbled down for Britten at a teatime assignation in a Lyons Corner House. Such was romance in pre-war London. Innocent but keen.

Letter: ROH budgets

ROH budgets

Culture: Opera House chief defiant as entire board agrees to resign

The chairman and board of the Royal Opera House resigned yesterday following a damning Commons report. But the chief executive told David Lister, Arts News Editor, that she will be staying put.

Classical Review: A young man's journey

Ian Bostridge Sings

Letter: Royal Opera House

Sir: Tonight (3 December) the Royal Ballet represents the United Kingdom at the festivities marking the reopening of the Teatro Real in Madrid. From Friday the Royal Opera contributes to the Year of Opera and Music Theatre in East Anglia with performances of Britten's Paul Bunyan. Both events represent the essence, quality and range of the Royal Opera House and its performing companies.

Leading Article: The Royal Opera is too important to leave to these amateurs

The overwhelming majority of the population cares not a tuppeny bit for opera and ballet, and therefore imagines the Covent Garden saga to be a distracting sideshow, of interest only to the effete and elite. They are wrong for two reasons. It matters, even to those who can't tell their Siegfried from their Sieglinde, because their money pays most of the bills. It also matters because the story shows how, for all the talk of Thatcher's handbags knocking the Establishment off its perch, important sectors of British life are still being run by back-scratching, self-regarding and more or less amateurish cliques. The management of opera matters because the arts matter, and this whole story bears all the symptoms of what has historically been wrong with arts management in Britain. Moreover, it matters because quality culture attracts visitors, esteem, creates jobs, and reflects and deepens the nation's sensibilities.

Arts & Media: Royal Opera chiefs face up to resignation calls

Royal Opera House chiefs will resist expected calls for their resignations when a House of Commons Select Committee publishes its report today. David Lister, Arts News Editor, finds the mood defiant at Covent Garden.

Proms manager moves to Royal Opera House

Judy Grahame, marketing manager of The Proms, has been appointed director of external relations at the Royal Opera House.

The Royal Opera - 2 for 1 ticket offer - Save up to pounds 75

The Independent and Independent on Sunday are giving you the opportunity to experience the opera. In association with The Royal Opera we are offering you 2 tickets for the price of 1 to the Autumn and Winter 1997/98 season. You can choose to see any of three productions - The Merry Widow, The Barber of Seville and Paul Bunyan all showing at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
life
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower