It’s Great Gatsby season at the moment, it seems: as well as Baz Luhrmann’s keenly anticipated film, Northern Ballet are touring a new version of their own, choreographed by David Nixon and currently playing at Sadler’s Wells. Despite missing out a plethora of details which just can’t translate into this medium, Hanna found the show “very pleasant”, and “the perfect project” for the company. But there are yet more Gatsbys too, and Roger was at Emmanuel Music’s performance of the operatic Great Gatsby by John Harbison at Jordan Hall in Boston – another successful adaptation, in an accessible style. Roger can find no explanation for this “perfect storm” of Gatsbys – but still, “ if you can’t have an extravagant and unnecessary party in celebration of Gatsby, then when can you?”

John Cage; image by Susan Schwartzenberg
John Cage; image by Susan Schwartzenberg
Talking of unnecessary parties, both Ninfea and I were a little perplexed by how very unoutrageous the Barbican’s Nico Muhly-curated musical “dinner party” A Scream and an Outrage was. Despite its title, it mostly played it safe – but some excellent new works from Bang on a Can grandees David Lang and Julia Wolfe made up for this in Sessions One and Two. There were also parties of a different kind from Northern Sinfonia, contributing to The Sage Gateshead’s “Fiddles on Fire” festival, and at Eyebeam in New York, which presented a rare outing of John Cage’s enthralling, perplexing Happening HPSCHD. The year-long party that is the Rite of Spring centennial continued in Manchester, and on Tuesday we published our 100th review of the 100-year-old Benjamin Britten.

Another musical coincidence of late is the plethora of Carmelites in the world’s opera houses: we have caught productions of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at the Met in New York and with Canadian Opera Company in Toronto – and I’ll be heading to Grange Park to see it in June as well. We’ve also reviewed two forays from US opera companies into the realm of musical theatre, with Oklahoma! in Chicago and Show Boat in Washington. A remarkable new Wozzeck from English National Opera has been making the headlines in London, and the headline-makers of tomorrow were on top form in the Academy of Vocal Arts’ Un Ballo in Maschera in Philadelphia. Oh, and we reviewed the Met’s Ring Cycle.

Evgeny Kissin © Sasha Gusov
Evgeny Kissin
© Sasha Gusov
Evgeny Kissin played the same programme, to the same ecstatic reaction, in both Chicago and New York – but two very different write-ups from Dan and Rebecca are a tribute to the wonderful subjectivity of concert reviews. We’ve also enjoyed contrasting accounts of the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra in both Dublin and London (we’ll be back for more in Bristol tomorrow too), and of the Tokyo String Quartet in their final year together. The coincidence of the month is surely the pair of London performances of Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: this rare work with a text by Milton has been put on at both the London Handel Festival and the (just opened) Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music.

Add to all that some Baroque curios in Malta, a stellar string octet in London, a curiously programmed evening with Renée Fleming in New York, and some marvellous birdsong in Birmingham, and you’ll begin to get a feel for all the classical music that’s been going on around the world recently. Though that said, we’re not just looking at this world: Katy reviewed all of The Planets, with Brian Cox.

Further busy times are ahead, and our reviewing team is growing ever larger: we’re thrilled to have Kathryn Maus’ first ballet review from Boston, a first concert review from Alice Hughes in Brussels, and Gavin Dixon’s take on some religious music in St Petersburg. In the coming weeks, we’ll be reviewing in Hong Kong, Oslo, Helsinki, Sydney, Aberdeen, Cleveland, and many more. Maybe we’ll see you there.