“The world ended again last night”, wrote David Allen, the day after Daniel Barenboim’s Ring cycle at the BBC Proms drew to a close. But while the world may end quite often, given the frequency of performances of Götterdämmerung, this was a rendition to transcend the everyday. Undoubtedly the musical event of the summer in London, this superb series has been an inspirational account of Wagner’s masterpiece, thanks to Barenboim’s conducting, the wonderful playing of the Staatskapelle Berlin, and a world-class line-up of soloists. Barenboim thanked the audience after Götterdämmerung for the incredible level of attention given to the performance in the Royal Albert Hall; these were performances where the atmosphere more than compensated for the lack of full staging. We’ve been lucky to cover it all on Bachtrack – I reviewed Das Rheingold, Chris went to Die Walküre and Rohan had Siegfried – and can only begin to imagine what Barenboim will bring to the Proms next year.

Daniel Barenboim conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin in the Ring cycle at the BBC Proms © BBC / Chris Christodoulou
Daniel Barenboim conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin in the Ring cycle at the BBC Proms
© BBC / Chris Christodoulou
I’m still holding out for Stockhausen’s ridiculously enormous seven-opera cycle Licht, but that’s mainly because we’ve recently published two five-star reviews of extracts from it here on Bachtrack. Welt-Parlament from Mittwoch was at the Proms before all the Wagner even started, and Philip reviewed this remarkable a cappella scene for us. And the night before, at Lincoln Center Festival in New York, Rebecca had been to Michaels Reise um die Erde. This “sort of trumpet concerto” was an astonishing mixture of music with visuals, becoming not so much a mere performance as “a little piece of the universe that we could carry with us out of the concert hall”. What a fortnight it’s been for ambitious music-making.

Matsukaze at Spoleto Festival © Olivier Roset
Matsukaze at Spoleto Festival
© Olivier Roset
Other Proms highlights have included an impressive Thomas Adès première, the newly established National Youth Orchestra of the USA, an evening of dance with the BBC Philharmonic and Antonio Márquez Company, and a spot more Wagner, in the form of Semyon Bychkov’s Tristan with the BBC Symphony. And elsewhere at the Lincoln Center Festival we’ve been at the ethereal new opera Matsukaze, heard more from John Zorn at 60, and seen a dance piece called Murmurs from Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter Aurélia Thiérrée.

We’ve also had three reviews from Glimmerglass Festival – quite the mix, with The Flying Dutchman, Camelot and a double bill of passions – and several from Blossom Music Center as well, with The Cleveland Orchestra. Off the festival scene, Sam hunted down some contemporary music in an east London church, Georgina heard a new musical show at Shakespeare’s Globe, Constance Clara heard a German Requiem an abbey in central France, and Kate sampled a rare gem of Italian verismo at Opera Holland Park. English National Ballet’s Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev was a ballet highlight at the London Coliseum. The world ended again here in London, yes, but classical music keeps on going.