Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

La Traviata, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, March 2018

March 17, 2018

Mirrors and bright lights in the party scenes contrast with the tranquillity of a country garden in early Act II and the bleak feeling of a cemetery where Violetta digs her own grave in Act III. With designs ranging from fin de siècle Paris to the glitter of modern Las Vegas, Daniel Kramer in his …

Read more >

From the House of the Dead, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, March 2018

March 8, 2018

Is the Royal Opera losing the plot? The recent staging of Carmen included narrative not in the libretto, and was very badly received. Now they have done it again. Janáček’s final opera on Dostoyevsky’s novel about convicts in a Siberian prison camp is a marvellous work. The composer was a genius at reworking theatrical and …

Read more >

Midsummer Night’s Dream, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, March 2018

March 2, 2018

Christopher Alden’s previous production, dragged down by its undertow of sexual abuse, has been abandoned and English National Opera has put the fairy magic back into Britten’s opera by returning to the earlier Robert Carson staging, last seen here in 2004. The result brings joy to the heart as the blundering Puck of Miltos Yerolemou …

Read more >

See all Theatre Reviews
Latest Journalism

Numbers Game (contd.)

How the Monty Hall problem exposes a human tendency to stick with difficult decisions, Standpoint magazine, March 2018, p. 6.

Read more >

March is the cruellest month

At one time the New Year started in March, in China it’s February 16 this year, and the British tax year starts on April 6. Why the differences? Standpoint magazine, February 2018, p. 57.

Read more >

Acting the goat with the Greeks

Innumeracy at the top of European politics beggared Greece and may now vitiate Brexit negotiations, Standpoint magazine, December 2017, p. 69

Read more >

Indiana Jones and the table of Babel

An ancient mathematical tablet from about 1800 BC shows Babylonian trigonometrists had long anticipated the Greeks, Standpoint magazine, November 2017, p. 59.

Read more >

Coming to Terms with History

How Barrie Kosky’s new Meistersinger at Bayreuth is helping the Wagner Festival to come to terms with the past. Standpoint magazine, September 2017, p. 54.

Read more >

The Great Expedition

In the mid-eighteenth century a Danish-German expedition sought to discover the roots of the Hebrew Bible in Arabia and Mesopotamia. History Today, June 2017, pp. 72–77.

Read more >

See all Journalism

Symmetry and the Monster is the story of a mathematical quest that began two hundred years ago in revolutionary France, led to the biggest collaboration ever between mathematicians across the world, and revealed the ‘Monster’ – not monstrous at all, but a structure of exquisite beauty and complexity.

This book tells for the first time the fascinating story of the biggest theorem ever to have been proved. Mark Ronan graphically describes not only the last few decades of the chase, but also some of the more interesting byways, including my personal favourite, the one I called “Monstrous Moonshine”.

John H. Conway, von Neumann Chair of Mathematics, Princeton University

Opera on 3: for the BBC Radio 3 broadcast (on 19 November 2016) of Parsifal from this summer’s Bayreuth Festival, I was the guest with presenter Christopher Cook. We discussed the opera and its production, which I reviewed for the Daily Telegraph on 27 July 2016.

Truth and Beauty: The Hidden World of Symmetry

On the face of it, symmetry may seem simple, but diving beneath the surface reveals a whole new world. Over the last 100 years, the mathematical idea of symmetry has proved to be a guiding light for the world of physics. But what does a mathematician mean by symmetry? How does this link in with the world around us? And could it be the key to the mysterious ‘Theory of Everything’?

This was a BBC Radio programme on Symmetry in the Naked Scientists series. Here is the link