‘Messiah’ Returns…

My column in the December print edition of Standpoint is about the pros and cons of staging as an opera a work that is not one. Mainly, though not exclusively, Handel’s Messiah, which is about to take the stage at ENO directed by Deborah Warner. Canvassing opinion about whether such things are good for the work and good for the audience, I found a resounding “No” from Andras Schiff, a hearty “Yes” from Tony Palmer and a very spirited defence from conductor Laurence Cummings, who takes the helm at the Coliseum and points out, among other things, that this is virtually the only way that as a performer you can rehearse Messiah for six weeks, as opposed to throwing it together in a day. Enjoy.

An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens