Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

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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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 …

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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

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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

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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.