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The centenary of the Russian Revolution has been marked by a number of cultural events and this sold-out concert featured three of the country’s major composers, spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) is hardly a household name but he is a significant figure in the history of music, being the first to publish a book laying down the principles of tonal harmony in 1725-6. His first stage work, Hippolyte et Aricie of 1733, created a sensation by breaking with the traditions of Lully and paved the way for his other operas, including Dardanus in 1739. The original version was heavily criticised for its libretto, amongst other things, and revised versions appeared in 1744 and 1760; the edition used by ETO largely followed the version used to open the 1744 run.

For this year’s Britten Weekend, Snape Maltings devised a programme exploring the composer’s work for radio. In particular, there was a focus on one of his most celebrated collaborations – with the poet Louis MacNeice in the radio drama The Dark Tower, first broadcast by the BBC in January 1946.

Reece Witherspoon once said that the most hated line for any actress in a film is when she turns to the man and asks: “Well, what do we do now?”. For in real life she says, when have you ever heard a woman actually say that? In Wait Until Dark, the stage version of the brilliant 1967 Audrey Hepburn film, Susy our heroine, who is also blind, not only knows what to do “now” she also takes on three con artists in this high stakes thriller presented by The Original Theatre Company.

In an adaption by acclaimed playwright Jessica Swale, who has had huge recent West End success with Nell Gwyn starring Gemma Arterton, Gallery Players present Thomas Hardy’s classic Victorian novel of love, pride and class with a charismatic, flawed female character at its centre.

FlipSide is a major literature and arts festival which links Suffolk with South America. This year the festival had Green Issues as its theme. Jackie Montague absorbed the experience.

Graeae urges us to “raise a glass to good times” and then some with the bawdy and brilliant Reasons To Be Cheerful, a musical packed with the iconoclastic back catalogue of Ian Dury and The Blockheads.

This funny and emotive musical about a class of disadvantaged teens on a school trip was originally written by Willy Russell in the 70s but remains just as true and poignant today.

Beethoven, Schumann and Debussy were three of the most inventive and influential composers for the piano and, with the guiding hand of soloist Stephen Hough, some of their finest compositions were the basis of an evening of high musical drama alongside illuminating comparisons and contrasts.

At first sight Richard Strauss and Elgar seem worlds apart in personality and musical style. Yet it is easy to forget that they were close contemporaries (Elgar seven years older) and both made their musical mark around the beginning of the twentieth century.

The concert hall at Snape Maltings is famous around the world for its size and acoustics, but even this impressive venue seemed to struggle to contain the joyous sound created by jazz singer/songwriter Joe Stilgoe and his fabulously talented band.

Quality was guaranteed in this recital with two of the greatest ever composers of lieder and one of today’s most celebrated performing partnerships of the genre.

Youth was indeed the name of the game in this exhilarating concert - not just the immensely talented players but two of the compositions were written by composers around the age of thirty. In chronological terms conductor and composer Thomas Ades might no longer quite fit the youth category but his energy and drive were the foundation of the evening’s success.

The Nash Ensemble is one of Britain’s foremost chamber groups, not only in the established repertory but in their commissioning and promotion of work by contemporary composers. However, in this well attended concert they turned to three of the most accessible and polished compositions from three giants of the classical era.

Suffolk Summer Theatre kicks off in Southwold with a fast paced and very funny production of Alan Ayckbourn’s 1994 comedy of master criminals, murder and time travel.

Fast paced and fast moving this farce from the pen of Graham Greene is a sheer delight.

A balmy evening sheltered in the glade of the forest with a slight breeze blowing across the arena was the setting for a wonderful evening courtesy of Rick Astley.

Billy Budd, though relatively rarely performed, is one of Britten’s finest operas and this splendid concert staging by Matthew Eberhardt fully realised the quality and intensity of Britten’s musical vision. Running to more than three hours, with no surtitles and little beyond a few telescopes and instruments of naval chastisement to suggest the setting, the tense and claustrophobic atmosphere of HMS Indomitable was superbly captured throughout with the help of Mike Lock’s effective lighting.

In a typically well-considered and constructed recital, the former festival director Pierre-Laurent Aimard built an evening around dance pieces from five composers covering two centuries – Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Bartok. Taking account of the symmetry of the human body and the pairing of people in many dances, the first half with composers in chronological order was followed by a second half following the same pattern. It proved both illuminating and satisfying.

An evening originally planned to contain Mozart, Janacek and Chopin in fact added some Schumann at the expense of three Chopin mazurkas.

Despite Shakespeare’s genius and productivity, relatively few operas based on his plays match them in quality. Verdi’s Otello and Falstaff are probably the best known of the successes but Benjamin Britten also scored a notable triumph with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, first performed in 1960. A new production, designed and directed by Netia Jones, opened this year’s festival with the first of four performances.

Happy Idiots, a new company headed up by Red Rose Chain regular Lawrence Russell presents double entendres galore in this part satire, part carry on esque reworking of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s lover at the Avenue Theatre

Take the loveable puppets from Sesame Street, throw them into adult life – and you’ll end up in the quirky, irreverent – and hilarious - world of Avenue Q.

Puccini alongside Gilbert and Sullivan might seem an unusual pairing but it certainly produced a full and enthusiastic house for the one performance of Patience and only marginally fewer in the audience for the first of two Toscas. English Touring Opera have shrewdly balanced musical substance with wide box-office appeal for their spring season.

Urinetown, a musical which has its roots in fringe theatre, imagines a future where water is so scarce that paying for a pee is only way to control the masses and their out of control squandering of the earth’s resources.

Red Red Chain presents a definitely not to be missed, original and fabulously funny production of the Wilde comedy classic.

LipService take us on a witty, clever and ingenious journey with Pride and Prejudice’s Mr Darcy. Deliciously irreverant, the world of the female writer is deconstructed in a hilarious pastiche mash up.

There are show tunes galore in this wonderfully entertaining show, a love letter to the musicals made at MGM, the most glamorous of all the studios during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Apphia Campbell writes, performs and sings this stunning, moving and inspirational show inspired by the life of Nina Simone.

An audience of all ages lapped up a polished performance from The CTC as the youth theatre group brought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit show, Cats, to the Apex for some post-Christmas feline fun.

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