Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Solo for Two, Osipova and Vasiliev, London Coliseum, August 2014.

August 7, 2014

Want to know the back story for Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle? In Facada, the final item of this triple bill, choreographer Arthur Pita shows a bride having been jilted at the altar finally destroying her man and dancing on his grave. This merciless ending is a fitting one to an evening that …

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Adriana Lecouvreur, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2014

July 27, 2014

When an opera detractor points to a high quality of music being unmatched by the libretto they can hardly have a better example than Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. Conducted with verve and sympathy by Manlio Benzi this fin-de-siècle outpouring of dramatic harmony makes for a wonderful evening, but the impenetrable story about love, jealousy, dissimulation, political …

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Norma, Opera Holland Park, OHP, July 2014

July 26, 2014

Why is this glorious bel canto opera not performed more often? The reason is surely that one needs a terrific Norma, and Opera Holland Park produced one. Yvonne Howard was superb, and with Heather Shipp as Adalgisa these are performances not to be missed. Their duet towards the end of Act I when Adalgisa comes …

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Pincher Martin, Royal College of Music, RCM, July 2014

July 25, 2014

This remarkable one-act opera by Oliver Rudland is based on William Golding’s third novel Pincher Martin. A drowning naval officer whose ship was torpedoed survives on a rocky island in the North Atlantic, with rainwater to drink and shell fish to eat. He intends to survive … or so it seems, and this meditation on …

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Latest Journalism

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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The Fields Medal is the greatest prize in maths

The Fields Medal is awarded every four years, and the 2014 winners are announced today. This is the mathematics equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Daily Telegraph, 13 August 2014, p. 18

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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

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Feature

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.