Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Winter’s Tale, Royal Ballet, ROH, Covent Garden, April 2014

April 11, 2014

For Christopher Wheeldon to take on Shakespeare is a bold move. The words are of huge importance, but so they are in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, which Wheeldon successfully produced as a ballet three years ago, and when he expressed an interest in tackling the Bard at that time, Nicholas Hytner suggested Winter’s Tale. …

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Faust, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, April 2014

April 5, 2014

With only a few weeks to go before opening night, Anna Netrebko pulled out from the role of Marguerite, but we need not have worried. Her replacement, 32-year old Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva, due to sing the same role at the Vienna State Opera next month, more than made up for the loss. She brought …

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Lest We Forget, English National Ballet, ENB, Barbican, April 2014

April 3, 2014

One hundred years after the start of The Great War, this commemoration of its horrors opened at the Barbican last night with three new ballets specially commissioned by artistic director Tamara Rojo. The evening started with Liam Scarlett’s No Man’s Land connecting women at home with their men at war via the factory work of …

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Latest Journalism

Antediluvian Ark

This reviews Irving Finkel’s new book The Ark Before Noah:Decoding the Story of the Flood, analysing an ancient cuneiform tablet that describes a circular Ark. Standpoint Magazine, April 2014, p.73

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What is it that makes mathematics beautiful?

A UCL study on brain imaging points to mathematical beauty in the mind of the beholder, and this brief essay gives examples. The Independent, 13 February 2014.

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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 Wagner’s bicentenary year Mark has 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.