Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Royal Ballet Mixed Bill: Scènes de ballet, Five Brahms Waltzes, Symphonic Variations, Month in the Country, Covent Garden, October 2014

October 19, 2014

Four Ashton ballets in one evening — what a spoil. The first and third created just after the Second World War, the other two in 1976. Scénes de ballet is a perfect opener. Stravinsky’s music, originally commissioned for a Broadway revue, was conducted with suitable astringency by Emmanuel Plasson, making a striking contrast to one …

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Life on the Moon, English Touring Opera, ETO, October 2014

October 18, 2014

This is all huge fun and the packed audience at London’s Hackney Empire clearly loved the staging of this Haydn opera by comedy specialist Cal McCrystal. The plot is simple; a wealthy but miserly widower named Buonafede (good faith), superbly sung by Andrew Slater, is tricked into giving dowries to his daughter and his maid …

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The Marriage of Figaro, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2014

October 17, 2014

The revival of this ENO production had its first night on the 221st anniversary of the death of Marie-Antoinette, the first queen to perform in the original play by Beaumarchais. This was at her private house in Versailles, and the king then banned public performances, until in 1784 it opened at the Comédie Française in …

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I due Foscari, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, October 2014

October 15, 2014

Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, and at the end of this opera, Loredano, one of the Venetian decemviri (ten men who govern Venice) gladly consumes the knowledge that the two Foscari are dead. Noble men both, gone to their graves in agony. Placido Domingo showed the anguish of the elder Foscari — Doge …

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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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Feature

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.