Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Royal Ballet Double Bill: Monotones I and II, The Two Pigeons, ROH, Covent Garden, November 2015

November 19, 2015

Why were there inexpensive empty seats? This is a wonderful mixed bill of Ashton ballets, including his delightful Two Pigeons featuring Jacques Dupont’s glorious set with its window to the city and sky of Paris beautifully lit by Peter Teigen. Yet before this colourful drama of two lovers reunited after one flies the nest, we …

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Morgan und Abend, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, November 2015

November 14, 2015

In many operas we are watching life, yet see death. In this one we are watching death, yet see life — a remarkable turnaround facilitated by a fantastic match between music and libretto. Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas draws on the avant garde tradition of his homeland in producing a musical language that uses microtones …

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The Force of Destiny, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, November 2015

November 10, 2015

The unusually abstract title of this mature yet seldom-performed Verdi opera could be rephrased as ‘the force of anger’. The Marquis of Calatrava’s ferocity at his daughter Leonora’s choice of husband leads to his accidental death, and his son Don Carlo’s furiously determined revenge leads to his own death and that of his sister. “Vengeance …

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Latest Journalism

Standing the test of spacetime

How a thought experiment inspired Einstein’s General Relativity, Standpoint magazine, October 2015, p. 75.

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Meistersinger, Staatsoper Berlin, review: ‘marvellous’

The new season opened on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Reunification Day with Acts 1 and 2 of Meistersinger, Act 3 following next day. Daily Telegraph, 5 Oct 2015.

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Adriano in Siria, by Pergolesi, Cadogan Hall, review

In this remarkable 1734 opera, soprano Erica Eloff showed marvellous expressiveness and musical embellishments, Daily Telegraph, 17 Sept 2015.

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Glorious Summer

Compares the success of Britain’s privately funded opera festivals, with the ready acceptance of failure at publicly funded Covent Garden, Standpoint magazine, September 2015, p. 6.

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Tristan und Isolde, Bayreuth Festival, review: ‘hugely moving’

Will a Wagnerian triumph keep Bayreuth in the family? Daily Telegraph, 27 July 2015, p. B15

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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

Truth and Beauty: The Hidden World of Symmetry

On the face of it, symmetry may seem simple, but diving beneath the surface reveals a whole new world. Over the last 100 years, the mathematical idea of symmetry has proved to be a guiding light for the world of physics. But what does a mathematician mean by symmetry? How does this link in with the world around us? And could it be the key to the mysterious ‘Theory of Everything’?

This was a BBC Radio programme on Symmetry in the Naked Scientists series. Here is the link