It’s not every day that you publish two reviews of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, or indeed of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. But it’s becoming a bizarrely common phenomenon at Bachtrack that these congruences crop up, as they did on the cases above on 25 February and 5 March respectively – both times with one performance each on each side of the Atlantic.

There’s so much going on on the site, in fact, that it’s pretty difficult to keep up with it all. That’s why we’re beginning this: what we hope will be a regular series of articles drawing together some (though by no means all) of the performances our reviewers have recently seen.

Dead Man Walking © Yves Renaud
Dead Man Walking
© Yves Renaud
In opera, there’s an awful lot to tell. Contemporary works have had it good of late: Andrew gave Jake Heggie’s heart-rending Dead Man Walking at Opéra de Montréal five stars, and David found George Benjamin’s Written on skin a remarkable, attention-grabbing experience. Plenty of older pieces are getting fresh faces as well: I was impressed by a very thorough re-working of Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais from English Touring Opera, and Matthew Lynch enjoyed a problematic but high-calibre USA-based Rake’s Progress in Berlin. Less successful was LA Opera’s Flying Dutchman, a performance which – as Matthew Martinez reports – sails past the point of comprehensibility.

A fresh face in a difficult role in Washington didn’t quite live up to its potential: despite a technically assured effort from Angela Meade, Simon tells us, the world still awaits the next great Norma. Indeed, the prize for finest vocal performance this week is surely headed elsewhere in North America: it seems that the most extraordinary operatic experience any of our reviewers have attended recently may also have been the least daring – an effective, traditional production of La Bohème in Chicago, rendered exceptional only by the presence in the leading roles of Anna Netrebko and Joseph Calleja.

Stepping out of the opera house and into Finney Chapel, Oberlin, Deborah Voigt overcame a sore throat to prove herself to Timothy an exceptional recitalist as well as operatic singer (Katy caught her in the Met’s Les Troyens back in January in the HD broadcast). And London was home to a spectacular solo show of a very different kind: Mitsuko Uchida’s recital of Bach, Schoenberg and Schumann was a performance in which the music did the talking, as Frances reports. A younger piano star was out to impress in his home city of Toronto as well: Jan Lisiecki’s impressive Chopin Études saw Stanley declare him a born storyteller – rather like Chopin himself, in fact.

If you’re in Australasia, you may have been experiencing everything getting a bit crazy lately, if our coverage is anything to go by at least. What with Auckland hosting an orchestral tribute to drag queen Carmen Rupe and a remarkable recital with Kronos Quartet and pipa player Wu Man – and the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s multimedia extravaganza The Reef making a splash as well – a “jazz trumpet” concerto with the provocative title High Art, performed with Sydney Symphony, seems positively routine.

Esa-Pekka Salonen © Clive Barda
Esa-Pekka Salonen
© Clive Barda
Talking of routine, Esa-Pekka Salonen must be very much in the swing of conducting Witold Lutosławski by now, as his pan-continental celebrations of the composer’s centenary have continued – we’ve heard him conducting the Polish composer in three cities so far, and counting. This month has so far seen him conduct the Cello Concerto with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, partnering two soloists it’s hard to imagine bettering in Yo-Yo Ma and Truls Mørk. Lutosławski’s friend and fellow 100-year-old Benjamin Britten, on the other hand, has enjoyed a quieter time of it in the past couple of weeks – and Chris, in fact, seems set on puncturing the Britten bubble London has recently been enjoying. “Surely”, he says, “Michael Tippett must be considered the most important British composer of the mid 20th century”... answers on a postcard please.

If what you want is controversy, though, look no further than the New York dance scene: we’ve continued our recent habit of covering some truly off-the-wall happenings in this enthralling city. Rachel, still perhaps bored by nudity, caught a show called Oddball Zebra which may or may not have been “a grocery-list rundown of all associations with stripes” at Triskelion Arts, and Ivan attended... well, it might have been a game show with Michael Portnoy. Montreal is perhaps following New York’s example when it comes to wacky dance, with a striking offering from Dutch company T.R.A.S.H. captivating Nancy at the Place des Arts.

A more traditional dance experience in the Big Apple was Stephanie’s, who saw the impressive Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía bring their rich tradition to life at City Center. And despite the funky “z” in their name, BalletBoyz’ latest show at Sadler’s Wells was classically inspired, though no less remarkable for that, as Katja reports. Other London dance highlights have included Ballet Black, as ever showcasing new material, and Scottish Dance Theatre at The Place, whose exciting new pieces kept Erin guessing all evening – though not, admittedly, because she was blindfolded, as Ivan was for another New York show back in February.

There’s still rather a lot I haven’t covered – our first ever review from Turkey, for instance (thanks Alain) – but I hope that gives you a quick taste of what we’ve been up to in March so far. Stay tuned for more: there will be plenty of it.