Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Coppélia, English National Ballet, ENB, London Coliseum, July 2014

July 24, 2014

ENB’s Coppélia is not only a huge bundle of fun, but Delibes’ music really found its heart under the baton of music director Gavin Sutherland. Sometimes dancers are let down by indifferent conducting, but Sutherland coaxes a sensitive, loving performance from his orchestra, with real bounce when needed. Sets and costumes are a delight, and …

Read more >

Der Rosenkavalier, BBC Proms, Albert Hall, RAH, July 2014

July 23, 2014

After all that kerfuffle about Octavian at the opening night of Glyndebourne’s new Rosenkavalier it was a pleasure to see this concert performance and confirm two things. Glyndebourne was absolutely right to choose Tara Erraught for the role, and while I blamed director Richard Jones for the ill-fitting clothing on opening night (see my review) …

Read more >

La Traviata, Glyndebourne, GFO, July 2014

July 18, 2014

A careful attention to musical detail renders this new, fairly minimalist production of Traviata by Tom Cairns extremely effective, helped enormously by the stunning performance of Venera Gimadieva as Violetta. Her softness and richness of tone reminded me of Ileana Cotrubas as she subtly brought Violetta’s multi-faceted character into play. In Act I after an introspective and …

Read more >

Orfeo ed Euridice, Buxton Opera Festival, July 2014

July 14, 2014

For Gluck’s tercentenary Buxton has produced his Orfeo ed Euridice (the 1762 Italian version) to counterbalance Dvořak’s delightful Jacobin. It is a good match: Dvořak was a Czech composer, but so in a sense was Gluck, who was brought up in Bohemia and studied mathematics and logic at the University of Prague. This opera was a …

Read more >

See all Theatre Reviews
Latest Journalism

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

Read more >

Antediluvian Ark

Irving Finkel’s new book The Ark Before Noah:Decoding the Story of the Flood, analyses an ancient cuneiform tablet describing a circular Ark. What was its purpose? Standpoint Magazine, April 2014, p.73

Read more >

See all Journalism

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.