Roderic Dunnett

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.


Articles by Roderic Dunnett

Roderic Dunnett attends two events in the UK to hear the work of Ian Venables

Roderic Dunnett reports on Massenet's 'Cendrillon' from the UK's Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Claire Marsden visits Loughborough to play the Richard Strauss Horn Concerto No 1

Roderic Dunnett pays tribute to composer Gerard Schurmann on the centenary of his birth

An Australian mezzo has won the 2023 Bampton Classical Opera Young Singers' Competition

Roderic Dunnett explores the substantial catalogue of Regent Records

Roderic Dunnett marks Thomas Trotter's forty years as Birmingham City Organist by reviewing a special anniversary recital and investigating the artist's large output on the Regent Records label

Roderic Dunnett was at Adrian Partington's 2023 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester

Roderic Dunnett reviews Purcell's 'The Fairy Queen' at Longborough Festival Opera

Roderic Dunnett experiences the first performance of the opera 'Anna' by English composer David Matthews

Salieri at Bampton

Roderic Dunnett previews Adrian Partington's 2023 Gloucester Three Choirs Festival

Roderic Dunnett takes an extended look at the career of English composer Ian Venables, and listens to a recent performance of the orchestral version of his Requiem

Roderic Dunnett is dazzled by Rossini's 'La Cenerentola' at Neville Holt Opera

Roderic Dunnett listens to Handel's 'Agrippina'

Roderic Dunnett is impressed by a performance of Amy Beach's Mass in E flat

Bampton Classical Opera's 'Fool Moon'

Roderic Dunnett visits the UK's Garsington Opera for Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw'

Longborough Festival Opera's 'Die tote Stadt', extolled

Roderic Dunnett listens to two one-act operas

Opera Warwick's production of Weber's 'The Marksman'

Roderic Dunnett listens to 'Der Freischütz' from René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester

Johann Mattheson's oratorio 'Joseph', highly commended

Nadejda Vlaeva plays piano music by Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov

Roderic Dunnett listens to a recital by Scottish bass Brian Bannatyne-Scott

Roderic Dunnett listens to chamber, instrumental music and songs by Gerard Schurmann

Roderic Dunnett experiences Nitin Sawhney's new work 'Ghosts in the Ruins'

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. '... 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

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

Articles about Roderic Dunnett

Classical music news. July 2022 Newsletter - Watch and listen to our July 2022 newsletter - Youth Involvement in Classical Music

Classical music news. Defining Our Field - Classical Music Daily's June 2021 Newsletter is a panel discussion led by John Dante Prevedini, and has just been published as a video podcast

Classical music news. Creativity, Innovation and Re-invention - Classical Music Daily's April 2021 Newsletter has just been published as a video podcast

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