Mark Ronan
Latest Theatre Reviews

La Bohème, English National Opera, ENO, London Coliseum, October 2014

October 30, 2014

This excellent Jonathan Miller production with its bifurcated set easily manoeuvred into three different sets was graced with the beautiful voice of Angel Blue as Mimi. More on her later, but in the meantime the rest of the cast produced fine singing and for the most part vivid portrayals of their roles. George von Bergen …

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La scala di seta, Royal Opera Young Artists, ROH Linbury Studio, October 2014

October 24, 2014

First produced in Venice when Rossini was just 20, this comic farce is a little gem. Its quality is sometimes called into question by a story that the impresario who commissioned it served the young composer with a poor libretto by Giuseppe Maria Foppa to which Rossini responded with slapdash music. Whatever the truth of …

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Royal Ballet Mixed Bill: Scènes de ballet, Five Brahms Waltzes, Symphonic Variations, Month in the Country, Covent Garden, October 2014

October 19, 2014

Four Ashton ballets in one evening — what a spoil. The first and third created just after the Second World War, the other two in 1976. Scénes de ballet is a perfect opener. Stravinsky’s music, originally commissioned for a Broadway revue, was conducted with suitable astringency by Emmanuel Plasson, making a striking contrast to one …

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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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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


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.


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.