The man in the papier mâché head
By Stuart Maconie - 17 April 10:00

Stuart Maconie recalls the “real” Frank Sidebottom.

Damon Albarn's band Blur and their fans felt London belonged to them. Photo: Rex
Britpop: an insider’s tale of music’s last great gold rush
By John Niven - 16 April 13:00

Twenty years ago, it felt like John Niven and his fellow indie kids had won pop's cold war. But then the madness set in.

London's newest venue for opera: the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: Getty
Tiny, candlelit and intimate: L’Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
By Alexandra Coghlan - 11 April 17:00

Live opera is as physical as art gets, though you would never know that from sitting in any major opera house.

Smooth operator: Timberlake onstage with a dancer at Motorpoint Arena. (Photo: Getty Images)
Justin Timberlake, the 20/20 Experience Tour
By Kate Mossman - 01 April 17:06

“This is too good. Will the pleasure never end?” asks Kate Mossman as she witnesses the endothermic showman Justin Timberlake in concert in Sheffield.

Kylie Minogue: “It’s not right if you’re a woman who enjoys expressing her sexuality pretending you’re not sexual”
By Jude Rogers - 27 March 10:00

Jude Rogers talks to the pop princess about gay best friends, life after breast cancer and why she spent New Year alone.

Adrian Lester and Natasha Parry in a 2000 production of Hamlet. Photo: Getty
We need more racial diversity on the stage both sides of the pond
By Tony Howard - 25 March 10:21

British theatre is part of an industry that produces highly skilled practitioners but doesn’t always know how to use them. Except stereotypically.

John Mark Ainsley, Susan Bickley, Iestyn Davies and Rebecca Evans in the ENO's Rodelinda. Photo: Clive Barda
Rodelinda and Die Frau Ohne Schatten: the operatic search for truth amid the noise
By Alexandra Coghlan - 20 March 12:47

Two new shows from English National Opera and the Royal Opera House might sound completely different, but each finds the still small voice of human truth hidden underneath the excess.

Fund guy: Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, in 2008. (Photo: Getty)
Our arts organisations are in a dance of death
By Gerald Lidstone - 18 March 17:54

The deadline for Arts Council applications has just passed, and the funding outlook is looking bleaker than ever.

Versailles, location of the 1919 treaty, in the snow in 2013. (Photo: Getty)
Keeping the peace: Versailles at the Donmar Warehouse
By Andrew Billen - 13 March 16:59

Peter Gill’s epic, often brilliant but finally unsatisfactory three-hour play about the 1919 peace conference.

The singer Brody Dalle
Brody Dalle: the return of tough, surly female singers
By Kate Mossman - 13 March 16:15

Kate Mossman meets the riot mom and wife of Josh Homme, whose sound is a unique brand of domestic hardcore.

Stuart Skelton.
It may have come a year too late, but the ENO’s Peter Grimes is no postscript
By Alexandra Coghlan - 03 March 10:42

A year after the Britten centenary, David Alden’s Peter Grimes presents us with a society and a community irretrievably damaged, while the English Touring Opera’s King Priam is a domestic drama, hamstrung by matters of scale.

Big Brother is watching you. Photo: Getty
Theatre: 1984 and The Mistress Contract
By Andrew Dickson - 28 February 11:25

Orwell’s dystopian vision is convincingly staged but Abi Morgan’s latest is like a visit to Room 101.

David Bowie performing in 2003. Photo: Getty.
Let’s not pretend: David Bowie’s Brit Award was for being alive
By James Medd - 20 February 11:58

Musicians and pundits need to get over their obsessive, nostalgic hero-worship. In 2014, David Bowie is irrelevant.

Finger-picking good: the English folk musician Martin Simpson in 2013
Martin Simpson: “Folk music is like an Olympic sport”
By Erica Wagner - 17 February 10:34

The singer and guitarist Martin Simpson on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Pete Seeger's politics and why Mumford & Sons "bemuse" him.

Don Giovanni holds a mirror up to society after the year of the “selfie”
By Alexandra Coghlan - 14 February 13:15

History may be written by the victors but Holten gives literature’s greatest loser, condemned again and again to hellfire, the opportunity to tell his tale.

Valentine’s Day songs – and how to write one
By Yo Zushi - 14 February 9:11

If music is the food of love, here's your buffet and recipe book. Sam Ritchie from Sam & the Womp and Jerry David DeCicca talk to Yo Zushi in an effort to pin down what makes a great Valentine's lyric.

No laughing matter: King Lear at the National Theatre
By Helen Lewis - 13 February 7:24

A big production for a big theatre.

Lady in red: Taylor Swift performing at the O2 Arena in London this month
Taylor Swift is for grown-ups, too
By Kate Mossman - 13 February 7:22

Her songs offer the sense of a technicolour future stripped of all but the most worthwhile woes. It's time she stopped the silly pep talks in between and just got on with being a pop star.

What is it like to come from an intensely musical family?
By Steven Isserlis - 06 February 14:31

Many generations of Steven Isserlis's family have been involved in making music, transported and shaped by opportunities to play. A celebrated cellist himself, he describes how closely music is connected to a happy family life.

Why is the Canadian rock band Skinny Puppy invoicing the Pentagon for $666,000?
By Sophie McBain - 06 February 12:04

How would you react if you discovered your music was being used to aid interrogations?

China's latest “popaganda” campaign: Ruhan Jia
By Georgia Catt - 06 February 8:36

Music is one of China's most valuable cultural exports, and the Chinese government is hoping Ruhan Jia will be their first global pop hit.

What's behind the puritanical obsession with Jay-Z and Beyoncé's marriage?
By Justin Charity - 31 January 17:11

Their performance of “Drunk In Love” at the Grammys was undoubtedly sultry, but why does it give the media licence to speculate about “what goes on” in the couple’s own home?

Peter Maxwell Davies: “Making music is a social contract”
By Alexandra Coghlan - 30 January 11:15

Alexandra Coghlan meets the Queen’s composer.

New Statesman
Dead body politic: Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies and the Duchess of Malfi on stage
By Andrew Dickson - 24 January 15:00

Jeremy Herrin's adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels for the stage is a marvel, if a little overstuffed, with so much plot and counterplot there is little room left for anything else.

New Statesman
How a musical epiphany saved Handel from ruin and despair
By Stefan Zweig - 23 January 16:54

Handel did not praise his own works but there was one that he loved, <em>Messiah</em>, because in it he had redeemed himself.

Richard Strauss: a reluctant Nazi collaborator
By Michael Kennedy - 23 January 11:08

Richard Strauss was wooed, rejected and then hounded by the Nazis. On his 150th anniversary, is his music finally free from the stigma?

Manon at the Royal Opera House: a voluptuous romp translated to the Belle Epoque
By Alexandra Coghlan - 20 January 15:54

Opera’s ultimate problem-child heroine returns to the Royal Opera House in a production somewhat lacking in warmth.

Do you hear what I hear? The year's festive music wrapped up
By Kate Mossman - 09 January 13:34

R'n'B stylings of classic holiday hits and Cockney staples.

Filling the god-shaped hole: Parsifal and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
By Alexandra Coghlan - 19 December 12:41

Wagner and Beethoven strove tirelessly after some similar gnostic themes in their music.

Five reasons Beyoncé's new album is a multi-faceted thing of awe and wonder
By Laurie Penny - 15 December 16:23

We should be jealous of the ten-year-olds who will grow up to tracks like Beyoncé's "Flawless", when all we had was the Spice Girls' "Wannabe".

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