SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Michael White

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June 25, 2022
The most curious thing about Dame Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers – a “neglected” opera, rescued from the shadows for this summer’s Glyndebourne festival – is its morality. Which is distinctly skewed. The curtain rises on an isolated coastal community who, led by their local pastor, seem to be devout. The opening chorus is a testament
June 06, 2022
Margaret Attwood’s scary story of existence under a pernicious Christian fundamentalist regime, The Handmaid’s Tale, made grim reading as a novel, was unbearable to watch as a TV series, and wins few converts to theocracy in the operatic adaptation by Danish composer Poul Ruders which has just had a new staging at English National Opera.  Nearly three
May 27, 2022
In Oberammergau, the other week, an entire Bavarian village geared up for the opening of this year’s Passion Play.
May 02, 2022
Covent Garden’s powerful production of “Peter Grimes” pulls no punches, writes Michael White The seaside town of Aldeburgh, in Suffolk, has a little Catholic church with a delightful garden that gets overlooked by visitors. Though many of them come as pilgrims, they are not there for religion. Aldeburgh’s pilgrims come in search of the composer
March 30, 2022
Michael White is charmed by fast-rising Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński’s rendition of Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater
February 28, 2022
The Royal Opera’s flashy production of ‘Theodora’ reduces its Christian context to a minimum, says Michael White
January 27, 2022
Over Christmas, Michael White is unmoved by Verdi’s ‘Nambucco’ and charmed by Berlioz’s ‘L‘Enfance du Christ’
December 26, 2021
Michael White reports on the premiere of James MacMillan’s Christmas Oratorio and the annual Britten festival in Suffolk
December 03, 2021
It sometimes seems like Poland has its own, peculiarly national, hotline to God. Why this should be, beyond the fact that it produces the occasional pope, is more a question for historians than music critics. But the Poles are undeniably and overwhelmingly devout, and it’s reflected in their music, which leans heavily these days toward
October 22, 2021
Concerts are finally back after 18 months, with those institutions that took creative risks during the pandemic continuing to shine
June 26, 2020
One, Two, Three, Four: The Beatles in Time By Craig Brown Fourth Estate, 656pp, £20 The Beatles generated something close to a religion of their own. When John Lennon claimed to be more famous than Jesus, he didn’t endear himself to many Christians but was drawing a comparison that others half-conceded – even sceptics like
March 12, 2020
In the world of opera, nuns are frequent visitors and fair game. They’re exotic, not infrequently neurotic, blistering with fervour and not difficult to costume (you can hire the habits off the peg, they never need a perfect fit).   More seriously, nuns on the opera stage deliver opportunities for a composer and librettist to reflect
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