Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

The Indian Queen, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2015

February 27, 2015

This opera, or rather semi-opera (entertainment combining acting, singing and dance), was not really complete when Purcell died in 1695. Though it had already been performed, the loss of the Company’s main dramaturge and many of its singers compromised the result. Not therefore in the state that the composer would wish, and rather than attempt …

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Swan Lake, with Osipova and Golding, Royal Ballet, ROH, Covent Garden, February 2015

February 22, 2015

The performance on 21 February was the best I’ve seen so far in the present run, not least because Boris Gruzin in the orchestra pit gave a superb rendering of Tchaikovsky’s score. It was far better than the brash energy of the first night — given no doubt after insufficient rehearsal time, since Gruzin has …

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The Magic Flute, Welsh National Opera, WNO, Cardiff, February 2015

February 16, 2015

The remarkable freshness of Dominic Cooke’s 2005 production is superbly complemented by Lothar Koenigs’ conducting. He invested the overture with tremendous dramatic energy and as the opera developed fully brought out its theatrical side. Theatrical it is indeed, its librettist Schikaneder having created it for his own suburban vaudeville theatre rather than an opera house, …

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La Traviata, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, February 2015

February 10, 2015

hooAt the start of this production there is nothing on stage but a plain chair, and in the final scene, isolated from Annina, Dr. Grenvil, Germont, and even Alfredo, who leaves the stage to join the others in the auditorium, Violetta sits on it, alone. Finally she recedes into darkness beyond the back of the …

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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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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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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.