Classical and Opera Features

Opening the door to Daniel Kramer

by John-Pierre Joyce

Daniel Kramer loves to keep people guessing. Wriggling in his seat, he is itching to spill the beans about his latest production – Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle at English National Opera.“I don’t want to say…



Interview: Christopher Maltman

by Laura Battle

Before meeting Christopher Maltman I make a mental note: don’t mention the biceps. True, ‘best body in the business’ is an accolade to which many would aspire, but the topic crops up in interviews with...

Interview: Michael Fabiano

by Laura Battle

Too much, too soon is the greatest pitfall for the up-and-coming opera star, and it’s one that tenor Michael Fabiano is keen to avoid. Though this young American’s career is progressing in leaps and bounds,...

Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke talks about Ligeti

by Stephen Crowe

There is no question that Gyrgy Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre is one of the weirdest and most extreme operas of the 20th or of any century. It’s not easy to stage, and it’s not easy...

Interview: Jonas Kaufmann

by Simon Thomas

Think of German singers and it’s heldentenors and the repertoire of their native country which comes immediately to mind. Apart from the great Fritz Wunderlich, it’s unusual to have a teutonic singer who reaches much...

An Interview with soprano Amanda Echalaz

by Simon Thomas

During the Summer, while rehearsing Un ballo in maschera for Opera Holland Park, Amanda Echalaz received a phone call from the Royal Opera House. The next night she was on stage as Tosca, standing in...

Interview: Mark Elder

by Laura Battle

Sir Mark Elder’s professional debut was auspicious for a good many reasons. In the summer of 1968 he was still an undergraduate student at Cambridge, but his appearance at Glyndebourne as a non-singing sheriff in...

Preview: Tête à Tête Opera Festival

by Simon Thomas

Tête à Tête, who this month will present some 30 plus works in its third annual Opera Festival, is the sort of set-up that invites you to get in free if you turn up dressed...

Don Giovanni Becomes The Gay Don

by Simon Thomas

The Don as a wealthy club owner with an insatiable sexual appetite and the women’s roles taken by young men? What Matthew Bourne did for Swan Lake, the creative team behind the forthcoming The Gay...

Interview: Angela Marambio

by Laura Battle

Morning rehearsals for Un ballo in maschera have just finished: Ramn Vargas saunters past in a bloodied penguin suit, costume lackeys fuss over a rack of velvet frocks and I find Angela Marambio in her...

Interview: Royal Opera’s Elaine Padmore

by Melanie Eskenazi

I spoke to Elaine Padmore, the Director of Opera, about the thinking behind the season, and the house’s future plans

Interview: Thomas Hampson

by Simon Thomas

Chatting with American baritone Thomas Hampson, which I do in a rehearsal break for his first Covent Garden Traviata, is a stimulating experience. It certainly one that keeps an interviewer on his toes. Renowned for...

Preview: BBC Proms 2009

by Ben Hogwood

“Full of energy in its 115th year”. That’s how the BBC describe their premier classical music festival, and few could argue, given the depth and breadth of this line-up.Long gone are the days when the...

Preview: Opera Holland Park 2009

by Sam Smith

If the BBC are inclined to boast that the Proms are the musical event of the summer in London, Opera Holland Park could surely claim to stand out in the capital as far as seasonal...

Interview: Emma Kirkby

by Laura Battle

To describe Emma Kirkby as a doyenne of the early music movement is to suggest a certain grandeur. Add to that her title as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and...

Interview: Gerald Finley

by Simon Thomas

It’s remarkable that Gerald Finley is still sane. Since the beginning of this year, the Canadian-born baritone has weathered a maelstrom of twentieth-century angst, obsession and neurosis. First there was Die Tote Stadt, then Dr...

Interview: Jennifer Larmore

by Laura Battle

It’s a relief to hear that even seasoned pros can struggle with the Second Viennese School. Jennifer Larmore acknowledges that most people’s response to Alban Berg’s Lulu is “Aaaaaahh! Twelve tone music! Run the other...

Preview: ENO 2009/10

by Keith McDonnell

Morale must be high on St Martin’s Lane these days as ENO flies in the face of the credit crunch and announces a staggering 12 new productions for its 09/10 season.With a whole host of...

Petra Lang: “Work the music into the body, into the muscles” – Interview

by Simon Thomas

When Petra Lang steps onto the stage of the Royal Opera House in Lohengrin next week, it’ll be into a long shadow cast by Waltraud Meier in the last revival six years ago. If anyone...

Lufthansa Baroque Festival

by Keith McDonnell

Next month the only British festival dedicated to Baroque music celebrates its silver jubilee so we take a peek at what this year’s Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music has on offer. Although historically informed Baroque...

Classical Opera Company

by Simon Thomas

This year is shaping up as a significant one for the Classical Opera Company.Founded in 1997 by the conductor Ian Page, the company specialises in the music of Mozart and his contemporaries, performing with its...