Isabel Karajan at Shostakovich Festiva
©Matthias Creutziger

International Shostakovich Days, Gohrisch, Germany

Spoken drama augmented (and sometimes undermined) the music

'Guillaume Tell' at Welsh National Opera
©Richard Hubert Smith

Guillaume Tell, Millennium Centre, Cardiff

A bold and gritty start to the Welsh National Opera season

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 19: Azealia Banks performs on stage at Brixton Academy on September 19, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images)

Azealia Banks, Brixton Academy, London

The rapper has a star quality that defies her stuttering career

LSO Valery Gergiev
©Alberto Venzago

LSO/Gergiev, Barbican, London

Gergiev delivered a typically high-octane Russian evening

The Youth Orchestra of Bahia
©Tati Golsman

Colin Currie/Youth Orchestra of Bahia, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

A thrilling start for the Metal, Wood, Skin percussion festival

Iggy Azalea on stage at the Shepherd's Bush Empire
©Neil Lupin/Getty

Iggy Azalea, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

After a sluggish start, the Australian rapper came good

Alan Gilbert
©Chris Lee

New York Philharmonic/Gilbert, Avery Fisher Hall, New York

A programme of Italian film music was pleasing but insubstantial

Andrew McCormack
©Tim Dickeson

Andrew McCormack Trio/Empirical, Kings Place Festival, London

A sure touch from the pianist, and a grand finale from the quartet

Hao Jiang Tian as Oroveso in 'Norma', NCPA, Beijing
©Wang Jing/NCPA

Norma, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing

The contrast between western and Chinese casts was striking

Stuart Skelton as Otello
©Alastair Muir

Otello/Anna Nicole/Rigoletto, London

The London opera season gets off to a strong start

John Cale, Barbican, London

The veteran musician turns to drones to reinvent the rock gig

Norma, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

The vocal thrills were of the sort that make opera fans for life

Growing pains

Perhaps the wretchedness and sadness of the whole affair is a commentary on the hellishness of Miley Cyrus-level celebrity

Susannah, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco

In an uneven production, Patricia Racette sang the title role with deep commitment

Exit Paradise, Neuköllner Oper, Studio, Berlin

A new opera drawn from the everyday lives of a low-income district

Daphne, La Monnaie, Brussels

Musical standards are high in this production of Strauss’s opera

Robert Plant, iTunes Festival, Roundhouse, London

Plant was an immensely engaging presence, his band excellent

Cleveland Orchestra, BBC Proms

Two concerts revealed impressive discipline but little warmth

Idomeneo, Drottningholm Palace Theatre, Sweden

Kungliga Operan’s production abounds in telling detail

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Hall

An eclectic programme launched the ensemble’s new venue