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Fiona Maddocks

Otello; Rigoletto; Macbeth review

Coliseum; Royal Opera House; Barbican theatre, LondonENOs new Otello sidesteps an old problem, while the ethnic tension is viscerally felt in an African MacbethWhen Laurence Olivier played Othello he studied the mannerisms of Sammy Davis Jr to give the no

Otello; Rigoletto; Macbeth review

Coliseum; Royal Opera House; Barbican theatre, LondonENOs new Otello sidesteps an old problem, while the ethnic tension is viscerally felt in an African MacbethWhen Laurence Olivier played Othello he studied the mannerisms of Sammy Davis Jr to give the no

Otello; Rigoletto; Macbeth review

Coliseum; Royal Opera House; Barbican theatre, LondonENOs new Otello sidesteps an old problem, while the ethnic tension is viscerally felt in an African MacbethWhen Laurence Olivier played Othello he studied the mannerisms of Sammy Davis Jr to give the no

Bach Cantatas: Recreation for the Soul review in the best traditions of period playing

Magdalena Consort/Harvey, Elin Manahan Thomas, Daniel Taylor, James Gilchrist(Channel Classics)Buoyant and agile in performance, small in scale and steeped in the best traditions of period playing putting musicality over scholarship the Magdalena Consor

Proms 58 & 59 shattering, gut-wrenching Strauss

Royal Albert Hall, LondonSopranos Nina Stemme and Christine Goerke are outstanding as Salome and Elektra in two highlights of the musical yearEver one to split opinion, Richard Strauss is abused as vulgar, retrograde and opportunistic, or praised as radic

Joyce DiDonato: Stella di Napoli review dizzying technical virtuosity

The latest of Joyce DiDonato's themed discs is a mix of high-impact arias by Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti as well as the less familiar Mercadante, Carafa, Valentini and Pacini, several of them world premiere recordings which DiDonato and Riccardo Minasi

Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas review a tale of two Russians

Rachmaninov and Medtner, both late-romantic Russian composers, have fared differently since their deaths in 1943 and 1951.

Grimeborn: The Medium review a deft, intrepid production

The prolific Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007) was coolly regarded by the classical world, especially in his final years.

Panufnik/Lutoslawski: String Quartets review beguiling and pensive

These two Polish composers, born and dying within years of one another, tackled the string quartet medium at different stages in their long careers. Witold Lutoslawski (1913-94) wrote his only example, in two sections and lasting just under half and hour,

David Matthews: Symphony No 7, Vespers review ethereal and explosive

This world-premiere recording, which came out earlier in the summer, confirms David Matthews (b.1943) as a natural composer for voices here, the full-bodied, occasionally untamed Bach Choir as well as a richly gifted orchestral colourist happy to find i