Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Rigoletto, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, September 2014

September 21, 2014

Is it not time the Royal Opera House abandoned David McVicar’s 2001 production? The fake licentiousness of the first scene may be huge fun for the supers and for movement and revival director Leah Hausman, but it detracts from the drama and spoils the music, which at times becomes mere background to unmusical whoops and …

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Xerxes, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, September 2014

September 16, 2014

This sixth ENO revival of Handel’s late opera Xerxes (aka Serse) is a testament to the huge charms of Nicholas Hytner’s 1985 production, which presents the complex story of amorous intrigues in a Persian court with glorious clarity. Elegant, even stunning, costumes for the main characters contrast with drab for the courtiers and striking black …

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Otello, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, September 2014

September 14, 2014

After the end of a terrific performance, director David Alden was presented with two gifts to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his work with the ENO, whom he extolled as his favourite opera company in the world. That they work so well together is amply illustrated in this production whose huge enclosing set allows the stage …

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Latest Journalism

The prime numbers have it

New mathematics prizes show the public that the subject is constantly renewing itself with new ideas.  Standpoint Magazine, September 2014, p. 79

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The Fields Medal is the greatest prize in maths

The Fields Medal is awarded every four years, and the 2014 winners are announced today. This is the mathematics equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Daily Telegraph, 13 August 2014, p. 18

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High pressure

David Haig’s riveting new play Pressure about the weather forecasting for D-Day opened at Chichester and should move to the West End. Standpoint Magazine, July/Aug 2014, p. 14

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This 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

In Richard Strauss’s sesquicentenary year Mark is reviewing several Strauss operas, including:

Elektra, Royal Opera, Sept 2013.

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Royal Opera Mar 2014.

Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne, May 2014.

Die Liebe der Danae, Frankfurt, June 2014.

And more Strauss at the BBC Proms.

In Wagner’s bicentenary year Mark reviewed new productions of several Wagner operas, including:

Die Feen in concert, Chelsea Opera Group, March 2013.

Der Ring des Nibelungen, Berlin Staatsoper under Daniel Barenboim. Daily Telegraph, 12 April 2013.

Lohengrin, WNO, May 2013.

Wagner Dream,  Wagner’s death and Buddhism, WNO, June 2013.

Productions of The Ring, from the Berlin Staatsoper in April 2013,  Longborough in June 2013,  Bayreuth in August 2013 … plus more Wagner at the Proms, and a comparison of four Ring productions in the New Statesman. Also a brief history of the Bayreuth Festival in History Today.

Parsifal, ROH, November 2013

See too my articles Eurodämmerung and Wotan’s trolley, comparing the Ring with the Eurozone crisis.