Der Vampyr’s idea of flowing off the stage into the auditorium was carried out with an aplomb that Mahagonny got nowhere near. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Set designers have a crucial influence over the musical experience of an opera – here’s the evidence

Swedish soprano Maria Keohane: gets to the heart of everything with unfailing potency and point. Photograph: Anna Thorbjörnsson

The early-music strand of this sprawling festival is substantial enough to bear comparison with specialised events elsewhere

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