Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

Royal Ballet Triple: Obsidian Tear/ The Invitation/ Within the Golden Hour, ROH, Covent Garden, May 2016

May 29, 2016

Royal Ballet triple bills rarely begin with a new ballet, but this one started with the world premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Obsidian Tear to a half-hour orchestral piece by Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. Salonen, better known as a conductor, takes up the baton to direct his own music, named Nyx after the Greek goddess of the …

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Oedipe, Royal Opera, ROH, Covent Garden, May 2016

May 24, 2016

After a gestation period of over twenty years, Enescu’s only opera saw its first performance in 1936. Since then it has been a rarity, and despite this interesting production, originally created in 2011 for La Monnaie in Brussels, one sees why. Enescu’s inspiration was Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King, considered one of the finest dramas …

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Il barbiere di Siviglia, Glyndebourne, GFO, May 2016

May 23, 2016

The cast for Glyndebourne’s new Barber — its first performance of this opera for over thirty years — exuded huge zest and youthful energy, encouraged by the infectious enthusiasm of conductor Enrique Mazzola, who brought Rossini’s score vividly to life. This was a team whose rapid-fire musicality drew cheers from the audience, with the inimitable …

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Glyndebourne, GFO, May 2016

May 22, 2016

The first revival of this David McVicar production, with its glorious designs by Vicki Mortimer, beautifully lit by Paule Constable, seems even better than it did five years ago. As Wagner’s only comic opera — apart from his very early Liebesverbot — Meistersinger needs the light touch that McVicar so ably gives it. The marvellous …

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Madam Butterfly, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, May 2016

May 17, 2016

Anthony Minghella’s hugely successful Butterfly production, which the Metropolitan Opera in New York has broadcast to cinemas around the world, could hardly come at a better time for the ENO. Cinema screenings are one thing, but live in the London Coliseum is an experience not to be missed, and this revival under the superb baton …

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Latest Journalism

It wasn’t Pi in the sky after all

This article about young mathematical genius Ramanujan (1887–1920) coincides with the release of  The Man Who Knew Infinity, a new movie about his life. Standpoint magazine, April 2016, p. 70

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Standing the test of spacetime

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

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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


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