Not in front of the children

The London staging of Hänsel und Gretel was far superior to Berlin’s ludicrously bad production

Dancing to the SNP’s tunes

Scottish music and culture is playing second fiddle to an increasingly nationalist and socialist agenda

Lover of Venice, Proust and song

The chansons of Reynaldo Hahn are haunting and evocative. They deserve to be better known

The therapy of forty voices

My attempt to emulate Tallis was initially terrifying, but now that the work is finished I am quite bereft

Opera’s summer in the country

This year’s rural festivals provided a feast of productions of works outside the main repertoire

Music makes us socially mobile

Scottish nationalists seem out to destroy a precious musical heritage built up over many generations

In composer’s Sistine heaven

To hear my Stabat Mater sung in Michelangelo’s chapel was the high point of my musical life

A constant search for the sacred

Religion plays an integral role in modern music even when it is composed by non-believers

The ring of authority

Ernest Newman’s towering biography of Wagner helped to shape my own view of the composer

Wagnerian feminism

Director Willy Decker makes a plausible case that the eternal  feminine underpins The Ring

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"