Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Amadis de Gaule, UCL Opera, Bloomsbury Theatre, March 2015

March 24, 2015

In 65 years of UCL Opera productions this is the first work of Bach, the ‘English’ Bach — Johann Christian (1735–1782) — a son of Johann Sebastian by his second marriage. His three-act libretto was based on an earlier five-act one by Philippe Quinault for the French composer Lully, which in turn was based on …

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La Bohème, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, March 2015

March 14, 2015

This new ETO production boasts a terrific Rodolfo in David Butt Philip, who sang the same role to critical acclaim for the English National Opera last autumn. This time his more relaxed attitude allowed a fine interaction with the excellent Mimi of Russian soprano Ilona Domnich, and in their Act I meeting the eloquent message …

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The Wild Man of the West Indies, English Touring Opera, ETO, Hackney Empire, March 2015

March 13, 2015

This opera, mixing tragic and comic elements, has a Shakespearean tinge in the relationship of its main character Cardenio to a local slave named Kaidamà, like King Lear and his fool, though the ending is pure Donizetti. The back-story is that the unfaithfulness of Cardenio’s wife Eleonora — with his brother Fernando to boot — …

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The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, March 2015.

March 11, 2015

This is not an easy work to stage, emerging as it does from two slightly incompatible attitudes, by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, as to its eventual form. Its genesis lay in a series of songs — the Mahagonny Gesänge — published by Brecht in April 1927, which inspired Weill to fulfil a commission he …

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Latest Journalism

The ultimate space explorer

The brilliantly creative Alexander Grothendieck died recently after reshaping mathematics and then withdrawing from society. Standpoint Magazine, Jan/Feb 2015, p. 89

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Music of Resignation

Turbulence, trauma and transformation in the life of composer Richard Strauss. History Today, January 2015, pp. 4, 5.

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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

2014 is Richard Strauss’s sesqui-centenary year — here are links to recent reviews of several Strauss operas:

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.

Der Rosenkavalier, BBC Proms, July 2014.

Salome, BBC Proms, 30 August 2014.

Elektra, BBC Proms, 31 August 2014.

Plus a forthcoming article in the January 2015 issue of History Today.