Roderic Dunnett was educated at Uppingham School where he acted, played organ, piano and cello and sang countertenor. He won both a Classic and a Choral Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he sang in the choir under Dr Bernard Rose. He taught Greek History and Literature, English and Music for fifteen years at King Henry VIII School, Coventry, where he formed close links with Coventry Cathedral Choir under David Lepine and Robert Weddle.
Since turning to full-time writing he has reviewed books and music for most British broadsheet newspapers, including The Times, Guardian, Financial Times and latterly The Independent, as well as The Times Literary Supplement, Higher, and Education Supplement. He was music critic of The New Statesman for five years, has been chief music critic of The Church Times since 1989, and has since written for a range of magazines, notably The Spectator, The Oldie, The BBC Music Magazine, The Strad, The Singer, Early Music Today, Opera, Opera Now and Opera News.
Roderic Dunnett has an ongoing special interest in rare repertoire and opera of the early 19th and early 20th centuries, and in modern British opera. He has presented some twenty programmes plus two major series, Britannia at the Opera and Eastern Approaches, for BBC Radio 3. He presented BBC Composer of the Week programmes on the life and music of Edmund Rubbra and the classical and Oscar-winning film composer Miklós Rózsa, and a two-hour archive tribute to his uncle, the BBC wartime newsreader and doyen of Radio 3 announcers, Alvar Lidell.
He has published biographies of Dvorák and Debussy, contributed extensive chapters on Arthur Bliss and Peter Maxwell Davies to publications at home and abroad, has written entries for The New Grove, MGG (Die Musik in Geschicht und Gegenwart) and Contemporary Composers.
He is a founder committee member of the Ivor Gurney Society. His hobbies include Slavs, Turks, Celts, Comparative Languages, two-humped camels, hillforts and Roman roads.
M&V articles about Roderic Dunnett
Amazingly Kind - Keith Bramich marks the passing of South African-born composer John Joubert, who died on 7 January
Punk Transformed? - Keith Bramich has lunch with Torsten Rasch, Roderic Dunnett and others, at the Three Choirs Festival
CD Spotlight. Superbly Measured - Music by Haskell Small and Mussorgsky, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... indisputably fine pianism ...'
Ensemble - A friend in need. The Opera Omnibus production of Mascagni's 'L'Amico Fritz', enjoyed by Roderic Dunnett
Articles by Roderic Dunnett
Roderic Dunnett listens to countertenor duets by Purcell and Blow. 'The music is sensationally beautiful and touching - and so are the performances.'
Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
Longborough Festival Opera's wacky production of Cavalli's 'La Calisto'
Roderic Dunnett enjoys Opera Warwick's production of Offenbach's 'La vie Parisienne'
Choral music by Richard Allain. 'The music is undoubtedly beautiful, without exception.'
Oxana Shevchenko plays Stravinsky for solo piano. '... finely and deftly played.'
Symphonies by Ruth Gipps. 'It conveys as much energy and artistry and expressiveness today as it did the day it was written.'
Roderic Dunnett visits Birmingham to talk to John Joubert
Roderic Dunnett continues his in-depth review of this year's Three Choirs Festival in Hereford
Monteverdi and Elgar from the Three Choirs Festival at Hereford impress Roderic Dunnett
Roderic Dunnett listens enraptured to Ireland and Smyth at the opening night of the 2018 Three Choirs Festival
Nicolò Isouard's 'Cendrillon'at Bampton Classical Opera,heard by RODERIC DUNNETT
The first performance of David Sawer's opera 'The Skating Rink'
Roderic Dunnett visits Winslow Hall Opera for Verdi's 'Il Trovatore'
Maxwell Davies from the Hebrides Ensemble. 'As an approach to Maxwell Davies' music, this could scarcely be bettered.'
The children's opera 'Shackleton's Cat'
Orchestral music by Andrew Downes. '... varied, innovative, involving and absorbing.'
Praga Digitals' tribute to Victoria de los Ángeles. 'De los Ángeles herself is, needless to say, enchanting. The purity, the innocence of the voice, as one can hear here, is simply unique to her.'
Symphonies by Carl Friedrich Abel delight Roderic Dunnett. '... Schneider manages to bring out the character of each of these individual pieces without overstating at any point.'
Symphonic poems by Vítezslav Novák. 'For anyone unfamiliar with Novák's output, a disc well worth beginning with.'
Roderic Dunnett looks ahead to 2018 and celebrates more of the best English provincial opera from 2017, at Garsington, Longborough and Winslow Hall
Roderic Dunnett looks back to the 2017 Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, and forward to 2018 in Hereford
Roderic Dunnett applauds some of this year's successes and glances ahead to 2018
Roderic Dunnett looks back to Nevill Holt Opera's 2017 'Tosca' and 'Noye's Fludde', and forward to the company's 2018 season
Cantatas by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. 'The tenor's aria ... with gorgeous Thuringian strings, emerges as a reverential movement.'
In this specially extended feature, Armstrong Gibbs' re-discovered 'Passion according to St Luke'
Orchestral music by Jaromír Weinberger. '... full of rich colours from the Berlin Orchestra under Albrecht's direction ...'
Opera Warwick's 'Die Fledermaus'
Gustav Holst's 'The Cloud Messenger'
European carols and songs in new arrangements. 'The singing throughout is of a high quality ...'
John Joubert's opera 'Jane Eyre'
Andrew Parrott's 'Composers' Intentions? Lost Traditions of Musical Performance'
Roderic Dunnett reports in depth on last month's Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester
Mozart's 'Idomeneo' at Garsington Opera
Heritage Opera's 'Don Giovanni'
Organ music by Rudolf Tobias. 'Ines Maidre is a performer of attractive virtuosity and sound judgment.'
Piano music by Frederic Rzewski. '... a marvel of composition, enjoyable by anyone.'
Roderic Dunnett visits Longborough for Wagner's 'Tannhäuser'
Dennis Marks' 'The Knowledge - Opera'
John Taverner's Missa Corona spinea. '... a magnificent addition to the wide-ranging Gimell repertoire ...'
Piano music by Charles O'Brien. '... played with great charm and feeling by Warren Mailley-Smith.'
Will Todd's 'Alice'. '... this disc should be on everyone's shelves.'
Music by Gordon Getty. '... Getty is given the best possible advocacy on this well-recorded Pentatone disc.'
The 2015 Three Choirs Festival
Salieri operas in England impress Roderic Dunnett
Verdi's 'La traviata' at Winslow Hall Opera
Bizet's 'Carmen' at Nevill Holt Opera
Britten's 'Death in Venice' from Garsington Opera at Wormsley
Saint-Saëns' 'Samson and Delilah' at Grange Park Opera
Szymanowski's 'King Roger' at Covent Garden
Roderic Dunnett visits Hungarian State Opera
Roderic Dunnett looks back to Worcester's 2014 Three Choirs Festival, and forward to Hereford's Festival in July 2015
Balázs Kovalik's new production of 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten' at Opera Leipzig fascinates Roderic Dunnett
Roderic Dunnett visits James MacMillan's Cumnock Tryst
Roderic Dunnett visits Garsington Opera at Wormsley
Smetana's 'The Bartered Bride'
Julian Anderson's new opera 'Thebans'
Roderic Dunnett listens to vocal and choral music in Kiev
The first performance of Ian Venables' new clarinet quintet
Roderic Dunnett marvels at Henze's Boulevard Solitude
Peter Maxwell Davies' tenth symphony and other British music
Iestyn Davies' Handel arias impress Roderic Dunnett. '... pretty wonderful ...'
Roderic Dunnett investigates Jubilee Opera's 'A Time There Was' for the Benjamin Britten centenary
Roderic Dunnett visits Wexford
Mozart's Magic Flute at Nevill Holt Opera
Roderic Dunnett visits Grange Park Opera for Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin'
Roderic Dunnett asks some questions about 'Die Feen', a Wagner rarity performed recently by Chelsea Opera Group
Roderic Dunnett is enthralled by Alban Berg's 'Lulu', currently on tour with Welsh National Opera
Camels on the Silk Road
Roderic Dunnett listens to Valery Gergiev conduct Szymanowski and promote the opening of Mariinsky2
English Touring Opera's Autumn productions
Vaughan Williams' 'Pilgrim's Progress'
Agostino Steffani's 'Orlando Generoso'
The 2012 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
Jonathan Dove's 'Mansfield Park'
Roderic Dunnett was in Worcester for the 2011 Three Choirs Festival
Vivaldi's 'La verità in cimento' at Garsington Opera
Heritage Opera's 'Così fan tutte'
Roderic Dunnett experiences Peter Maxwell Davies' new opera 'Kommilitonen!'
Roderic Dunnett visits Gloucester for the 2010 Three Choirs Festival
Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
Robert Davies made a remarkable impact when he stood in as Papageno late in the run of English Touring Opera's 'The Magic Flute'; Roderic Dunnett profiles him and celebrates the progress of other ETO cast members
Martinu's 'Mirandolina' at Garsington Opera
Sonatas by Nardini. '... a delightful recording ...'
Roderic Dunnett pays tribute to the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott, who died in March 2008
'Elektra' at Hungarian State Opera
Roderic Dunnett reports on two new appointments at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels
Roderic Dunnett was at Armonico Consort's 'The Marriage of Figaro'
Jirí Antonín Benda's 'Romeo and Juliet'
Mozart's 'Il re pastore' at Garsington
Roderic Dunnett sings the praises of John Joubert, following the recent première of 'Wings of Faith' in Birmingham UK
Verse anthems from FifteenB
Heritage Opera's 'La Bohème'
Summer at Longborough Festival Opera
René Koering, Artistic Director of the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon 2006, talks to Roderic Dunnett
Garsington Opera presents 'The Philosophers' Stone'
Rimsky-Korsakov's 'May Night' at Garsington Opera
Roderic Dunnett was at the Rotherham Arts Festival
A song recital by Andrew Kennedy and Simon Lepper
Roderic Dunnett looks back to a glorious weekend celebrating Gerald Finzi and English Song in Ludlow with the Finzi Friends, and hopes for another next year
Birmingham Opera Company's 'Ulysses comes home'
Roderic Dunnett talks to Sarah Saunders of Phoenix Rising
Haskell Small plays Bach and Small
Bizet's 'Carmen' at Stowe Opera
Roderic Dunnett previews this autumn's touring operas in the UK
Further thoughts on Longborough's 'Ring' and Sir Donald McIntyre as Wotan
McIntyre sings Wotan at Longborough Festival Opera
Summer opera in the UK, reviewed and previewed
Stuttgart Opera's 'Simplicius Simplicissimus' by Karl Amadeus Hartmann
Roderic Dunnett on Covent Garden's 'Magic Flute'
Roderic Dunnett talks to Tom Hawkes, the director of Castleward Opera's 'La Rondine'
A choir and an organ in Gloucestershire UK. 'Two first-class new recordings ...'
Russian conductor Valery Gergiev arrives in London later this month to conduct a rare concert performance of 'A Life for the Tsar'. Musicologist Gerard McBurney talks to Roderic Dunnett about its importance
Martinu from the quartet bearing his name. '... played with appealing clarity.'
The C minor Mass by Johann Simon Mayr. '... spirited, alert and uplifting.'
The career of one of Italy's most striking musical personalities, who met and interviewed him
Roderic Dunnett visits the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for 'La Cenerentola'
On the 65th anniversary of Ivor Gurney's death, Roderic Dunnett takes a look at some First World War composers, and at an Imperial War Museum exhibition in London which pays tribute to Gurney and his fellow wartime poets
Roderic Dunnett is impressed by Strauss's 'Ariadne auf Naxos' at Covent Garden
Roderic Dunnett enjoys 'L'incoronazione di Poppea' at London's Royal Academy of Music
Roderic Dunnett visits Dorset and Stowe Opera for productions of 'Norma' and 'Don Carlo'
A one-act opera by Emil Petrovics
Roderic Dunnett is bowled over by Gossec's Requiem
In the second of two articles about the Chisinau National Opera, Moldovan tenor Mihai Muntean talks to Roderic Dunnett
Roderic Dunnett visits Garsington Opera for a feast of Mozart, Rossini and rare Janácek
The Czech conductor Jirí Belohlávek talks to Roderic Dunnett
Roderic Dunnett praises two recent productions at newly restored Grange Park Opera
Roderic Dunnett looks at the touring tradition of Chisinau National Opera and talks to Mihai Cocieru, the company's newly-promoted General Director
Following the controversial acceptance (or infliction) by the English National Opera board of Nicholas Payne's resignation, Pamela Rosenberg, General Director of the San Francisco Opera, talks to Roderic Dunnett about the impact of the decision, and about the esteem in which Payne's leadership is held in Europe and the USA alike
Glyndebourne's recent 'Euryanthe' is fêted
Roderic Dunnett enjoys Verdi's 'Macbeth' at Covent Garden
a slyly overcautious management board generates turmoil at English National Opera
Roderic Dunnett enjoys the Ukrainian State Opera Company of Odessa's 'La Traviata'
Power of understatement. Roderic Dunnett at a new production of Euripides' tragedy 'Bacchae', with music by Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Lisztian sparkle. Roderic Dunnett talks to American piano virtuoso Haskell Small
a glorious dip in the grotesque. Roderic Dunnett at Welsh National Opera's revival of 'Salome'
imperial grandeur. Roderic Dunnett is impressed with a new production of 'The Queen of Spades'
Prisoner of Mab. Roderic Dunnett reports from Austria on a new chamber opera by Eduard Demetz
The role of the artist. Roderic Dunnett visits Caen for a performance of Wolfgang Rihm's opera 'Jakob Lenz'
A friend in need. The Opera Omnibus production of Mascagni's 'L'Amico Fritz'
Roderic Dunnett explores the music of Carl Loewe
Maschinist Hopkins. Roderic Dunnett on a Max Brand UK première
Cosseted by Robespierre. Roderic Dunnett visits London's Royal Opera House for a special performance of 'Tosca'
Swashbuckling parody. Roderic Dunnett attends the Hungarian première of Maxwell Davies's Expressionist opera 'Resurrection'
Glyndebourne's latest new star talks to Roderic Dunnett
Masterly. Roderic Dunnett catches up with Glyndebourne Touring Opera's 'Rodelinda'
Sublimely sensual. Roderic Dunnett looks back on a stunning young clarinettist's début and the music of one of Britain's most rapturous modern composers, both featured at the 2001 Deal Festival
Roderic Dunnett on the massive talents of the English composer and conductor Oliver Knussen
Sheer joy. '... the dazzling Eva Depoltová in the title role ...' The music of Josef Bohuslav Foerster
Roderic Dunnett talks to Martin Lee-Browne about a newly discovered Vaughan Williams setting of Walt Whitman
Mixed results. A critical view of Chisinau National Opera's 'Carmen' from Roderic Dunnett
Fresh and engaging. Roderic Dunnett reports on Chisinau National Opera's 'Turandot'
Roderic Dunnett at Stowe Opera's Rusalka
Roderic Dunnett writes about landscape and music
Roderic Dunnett samples a Garsington speciality
Roderic Dunnett reports on a Maxwell Davies European continental première in Vatroslav Lisinski Hall, Zagreb, Croatia
The Maid of the Mountains. '...sheer delight from beginning to end.' Harold Fraser-Simpson's operetta
Roderic Dunnett is impressed by John McCabe's score for 'Le Morte d'Arthur'
Roderic Dunnett congratulates Opera Omnibus for its recent 'Straszny Dwór'
Polished gems. Roderic Dunnett continues his occasional series on East European music with a visit to the Polish Royal Court
Definitely among the greats. '... Podvalová's Sárka is a celebrated interpretation.' A Marie Podvalová operatic recital
Curious polish. Village band music
Magical stuff. '... Gamba is remarkably successful ...' The film music of Alan Rawsthorne
Beautiful vision. 'This is a spectacularly interesting recital ...' The Golden Voice of the Prague National Theatre
Roderic Dunnett was at the Chisinau National Opera's 'La Bohème'
Quite breathtaking. Roderic Dunnett listens to the Suites and double horn concerto of Johann Friedrich Fasch
Roderic Dunnett describes Chisinau National Opera's 'Cavalleria Rusticana' and 'Pagliacci'
Roderic Dunnett experiences the Chisinau National Opera
Beautifully poised. '... the music is vibrant, insistent, and as urgently thrusting as the celebrated "Sturm und Drang" start to the G minor Symphony ... by Mozart ...' The symphonies of Joseph Martin Kraus
Unadulterated delight. '... 45 minutes of pure heaven ...' Saint-Saëns' 'La Princesse Jaune'
Brilliantly handled. Roderic Dunnett listens to 'La Contadina' by Hasse
Wagnerian colours. Draeseke's Symphonia tragica
In the first of an occasional series on East European music and opera, Roderic Dunnett reviews the music and recordings of Zdenek Fibich
Wonderful achievement. 'Exciting to stumble across a composer and playing so vital and refreshing.' Roderic Dunnett listens to the 3rd Symphony of Wilhelm Peterson-Berger
Rocking the boat. Ex Novo play the chamber works of Casella
Roderic Dunnett looks back at a thumping good summer for opera festivals in Britain and Ireland. Part 5 - The Turn of the Screw
Roderic Dunnett looks back at a thumping good summer for opera festivals in Britain and Ireland. Part 4 - Mr Emmet Takes a Walk
Roderic Dunnett looks back at a thumping good summer for opera festivals in Britain and Ireland. Part 3 - Bampton, White Horse and Dorset
Roderic Dunnett looks back at a thumping good summer for opera festivals in Britain and Ireland. Part 2 - Longborough, Buxton and Garsington
A Practical Approach to the Language and the Repertoire. Stephen Varcoe's book is
Roderic Dunnett looks back at a good summer for opera festivals in Britain and Ireland. Part 1 - Castleward, Wexford and Stowe
Roderic Dunnett was at Glyndebourne for Birtwistle's 'The Last Supper'
Roderic Dunnett journeys to de Vlaamse Opera
Roderic Dunnett marvels at Welsh National Opera's 'Queen of Spades'
Roderic Dunnett was at Dorset Opera's recent production of 'Salvator Rosa'
Roderic Dunnett looks back with delight at Longborough Festival Opera's new production of Wagner's Siegfried
Roderic Dunnett talks to Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Möst about Franz Schmidt's Book with Seven Seals
Ikon of St Hilda - Roderic Dunnett listens to the girls of Wakefield Cathedral
James MacMillan's new Evening Canticles for choir and organ have just been premièred at Winchester. Roderic Dunnett talked to the cathedral organist, David Hill.
James MacMillan talks to Roderic Dunnett about composing sacred and liturgical music.
Roderic Dunnett writes about 'Arthur Part 1: Arthur Pendragon' in the light of its recent London première
'Restoring a sacred choral tradition. A truly gorgeous recording has just emerged from the Maîtrise de Caen ... tenderly supportive, with beautiful clear words, good intonation and an attractive feel for cadence and phrasing.' Roderic Dunnett listens to Les Petits Motets de Sébastien de Brossard.
Staggering beauty - Roderic Dunnett listens to Judy Martin's choir Voces Sacrae
Roderic Dunnett on Phyllida Lloyd's Gloriana for BBC TV
with Roderic Dunnett
Roderic Dunnett looks back at Sir Arthur Bliss, who died 25 years ago.
with Roderic Dunnett. 1: The Tales of Hoffmann, De Vlaamse Oper, Antwerp
with Roderic Dunnett. 2: Peter Grimes - Hungarian State Opera, Budapest
with Roderic Dunnett. 3: A Midsummer Night's Dream. Opera North. Grand Theatre, Leeds
Roderic Dunnett continues his examination of Ivor Gurney the musician - part 4: Conscious or unconscious?
Roderic Dunnett continues his examination of Ivor Gurney the musician - part 3: Of earthly and heavenly Beauty
On the birthday of English composer and poet Ivor Gurney, Roderic Dunnett examines Gurney the Musician
Roderic Dunnett reports from the Hungarian capital
Roderic Dunnett reports on the recent activities of Elgar authority Jerrold Northrop Moore
Roderic Dunnett on Tippett's opera King Priam
Roderic Dunnett writes about Berlioz' Grande Messe des Morts
Roderic Dunnett reports from the continuing Opera Festival
(Features listed in grey are in our archive, and available to subscribers only.)