Guide to Classical Music, Opera and Dance in London

London by night © David Karlin
London by night
© David Karlin
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LondonRoyal Academy of Music Richard Lewis Song Circle at Wigmore Hall

Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Massenet, Gounod, Glinka, Rossini, Tosti
Meinir Wyn Roberts; Patrick Terry; Hiroshi Amako; Richard Walshe

LondonPortrait – Hugo Ticciati & Friends

Messiaen, Lutosławski, Rameau
Hugo Ticciati; Natacha Kudritskaya; Julian Arp

LondonThe Young Debussy

Wagner, Lalo, Debussy, Massenet
London Symphony Orchestra; François-Xavier Roth; Edgar Moreau

LondonPiers Lane recital

Scarlatti, Bach, Rachmaninov, Chopin
Piers Lane, Piano

LondonDebussy & Ravel

Debussy, Ravel
Philharmonia Orchestra; Pablo Heras-Casado; Pierre-Laurent Aimard
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Russian epic from Mikhail Agrest and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

In an all-Russian programme, Agrest gave us a thoughtfully textured Tchaikvosky 4, while the ease with which Andrey Gugnin took on Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto was a delight.
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Many pianos: Alexander Melnikov at Wigmore Hall

An intriguing concert performed on three pianos from different eras which revealed how composers responded to the piano technology available to them at the time.
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Anna Fedorova compelling in Chopin

Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova gave compelling performances of Chopin’s profound Ballades and intricate Waltzes, full of intensity, dreaminess and frenzy.
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Tosca at ROH: promise as yet unfulfilled

The ninth revival of Jonathan Kent’s production features a great Act 1 and enjoyable Covent Garden role debuts for the three top singers, but misses the mark on the set pieces.
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Elegiac introspection from Isabelle Faust

A great programme of varied but accessible 20th-century music excites in spite of its imperfections; Faust gives a beautiful, introspective reading of the second Berg concerto.
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Time Unwrapped at Kings Place

Ahead of the innovative Time Unwrapped season at Kings Place, we look at some of the highlights. 
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Guide to Kings Place

Kings place inside venue © Kings Place
© Kings Place
Find out more about Kings Place, the iconic, award-winning arts and conferencing venue located in the heart of King’s Cross. Since opening in September 2008 as an entirely self-funded venue, it has enjoyed critical success for classical music, along with a wide range of art forms, including classical, opera, jazz, folk, world and contemporary music as well as dance, film, comedy, literature and spoken word.
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Guide to the Philharmonia Orchestra

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Click here to find out where and when the Philharmonia is playing and read our reviews if you missed a performance you really wanted to attend.
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Guide to the London Symphony Orchestra

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Read our guide to find out more about the LSO's current and upcoming season, or just relax and watch their clips.

People looking for a classical concert in London are truly spoilt for choice. The city boasts five major orchestras and regularly hosts many others; several venues for chamber music and smaller-scale orchestral performances; choral works are frequently played in the main concert halls as well as in churches, and there are two major opera houses.

The Barbican Centre where the well known London Symphony Orchestra perform (and the BBC Symphony Orchestra) as well as the Southbank Centre (where you find both the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall,) home of the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic Orchestra vie for the title of London's premier hall for orchestral concerts. Cadogan Hall, near Sloane Square, is the main home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which also performs music outside the standard classical repertoire. In summer, the attention shifts to the BBC Proms festival at Kensington's Royal Albert Hall, which hosts a dazzling array of visiting Orchestras as well as the BBC's own performing groups.

The Wigmore Hall in Marylebone, is the capital's home of instrumental and chamber music. In addition, there are many other venues for smaller scale events, joined recently by the newly built King's Place, a development near King's Cross station which houses the London Chamber Music Series. London has several specialist orchestras such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (specialising in baroque and early music), and the London Sinfonietta, which plays 20th and 21st century works.

Many churches host concerts of choral and other works, most notably St. Johns Smith Square in Westminster and St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square.

London has two internationally acclaimed opera companies: the Royal Opera (which performs at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), and the English National Opera, which performs at the London Coliseum and always sings opera in English. Less known is the fact that there are several smaller opera companies such as Hampstead Garden Opera, who perform in smaller venues with tickets suitable for considerably smaller budgets!

These are some great concerts also to be found at the music colleges: the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College both have events which showcase their students: these are often of very high quality.

There are dozens of other venues not listed above. If you're a music fan visiting the capital and looking for a classical music concert, you'd be hard pressed to pick a day when nothing's playing, and if you live in London, you have an overwhelming selection of orchestras, conductors and pieces of music in different styles from different composers. The main danger is to your bank balance!