Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles Gustavo Dudamel conducting
Art and culture

Our favourite music venues 2022

May 25, 2022

Whether you’re into jazz or opera, there’s a unique musical experience to be discovered in every city. From London to Los Angeles, here’s our guide to a few of our favourite venues where the local creative spirit shines through its music.
Opera Holland Park London
Courtesy of OHP Carnival and Ali Wright

Al fresco opera in Holland Park

With its manicured lawns and Japanese garden, Holland Park is an idyllic setting for outdoor picnics and performances during Opera Holland Park. Every summer since 1996, this visually dramatic venue hosts classical and innovative operas on its unique al fresco stage under a canopy of ancient trees. Fans of passionate dramas will be pleased to hear that the 2022 season features Frederick Delius’s Margot la Rouge and Giacomo Puccini’s Le Villi, followed by the UK premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women

Until August 10, 2022

Ilchester Place, London W8 6LU

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Henley Festival

Berkshire is renowned for being the home of Windsor Castle, horse racing and regattas in the riverside town of Henley-on-Thames. What some may not know is that every July, the River Thames comes alive with a black-tie festival celebrating some of the best UK and international artists alongside fireworks, stilt walkers and pyrotechnic displays. Now in its 40th year, the festival will showcase stars on a stage that floats on the river. Headliners include Welsh singer Tom Jones, classical singer Katherine Jenkins and the National Symphony Orchestra.

July 6 10, 2022

Leander Club, Henley-on-Thames, Berkshire RG9 2LP

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Henley Festival Berkshire
Courtesy of Caitlin Mogridge
Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles

The Music Center

This centre in downtown LA is one of the largest performing arts complexes in the US. The sprawling venue hosts the Walt Disney Concert Hall home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil) the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where LA Opera is based, and the Ahmanson Theatre, which presents the latest Broadway hits. Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma!, the first musical written by the duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, will run in autumn, while a production at Walt Disney Concert Hall in October will see the LA Phil’s artistic director Gustavo Dudamel revisit Mahler’s First Symphony.

135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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Composer Thomas Adès at La Scala

La Scala, founded by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria in 1778, is Italy’s most celebrated opera house. Its interiors take you back in time, exuding old-world charm, with red velvet seats and gilded balconies. In September, Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian will sing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s score, accompanied by pianist Lukas Geniušas. Contemporary opera lovers meanwhile will enjoy one of the most compelling new works to have been released in recent years, as British composer Thomas Adès will conduct an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, in November. 

2 Via Filodrammatici, 20121 Milan

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Asmik Grigorian La Scala Milan
Courtesy of Brescia e Amisano and Teatro alla Scala
Palais Garnier Paris
Courtesy of Patrick Tourneboeuf

The palatial Palais Garnier

Designed by Charles Garnier and completed in 1875, Palais Garnier is an architectural icon and the inspiration behind Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera. While its opulent façade features friezes and columns, its interior is equally impressive; look up and you’ll find a 1964 artwork by Marc Chagall painted across the auditorium’s ceiling. For aficionados of 19th century design, a guided tour is a must, although the best way to experience the charms of a bygone Paris is by watching a show here. Puccini’s Tosca and Philarmonie de Paris’ performance of Gustav Mahler’s ‘Symphony No 9’ are 2022 highlights.

Place de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris

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London’s oldest jazz club

If you’re after a more intimate venue and curious to discover new jazz stars alongside established names, one of the world’s most famous jazz clubs, Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, never disappoints. Hosting musical talent since 1959, legends from Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis to Cassandra Wilson and Amy Winehouse have performed here. Grammy winners Lee Ritenour (guitar) and Dave Grusin (piano) will be playing in July 2022, and the following month, British Jamaican R&B and soul singer Ruby Turner will be gracing the stage. 

47 Frith Street, W1D 4HT London

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Ronnie Scott's jazz club in Soho
Opera at Baths of Caracalla in Rome
Image © C.M. Falsini

Roberto Bolle and friends at Terme di Caracalla

Now magical, atmospheric ruins, Terme di Caracalla (the Baths of Caracalla) were completed in AD 217 after Emperor Caracalla’s death. Today the architectural remains form a spectacular backdrop to outdoor shows. This summer, highlights include the ballet Roberto Bolle and Friends. Having trained at La Scala Theatre Ballet School, Bolle’s world-touring show features American Ballet Theatre’s principal dancer Herman Cornejo. The opera house Teatro dell’Opera di Roma meanwhile will present Georges Bizet’s Carmen, a passionate story of lust and jealousy, also at the baths.

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome

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Philharmonie de Paris: a venue for all

The silver-coloured, sprawling Philharmonie de Paris, designed by architect Jean Nouvel, hosts established and rising artists across music genres ranging from Baroque and contemporary to rock. The new home of Orchestre de Paris, 2022 performances include Kaija Saariaho’s Vista and Maurice Ravel’s Concerto en Sol under the baton of Finnish conductor Klaus Mäkelä. If you fancy something a little avant-garde, Ictus and Collegium Vocale Gent will be staging Philip Glass’s pivotal first opera, Einstein on the Beach, in November. 

221 avenue Jean-Jaurès, 75019 Paris

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Orchestre of the Opéra de Paris at the Philharmonie de Paris
Courtesy of Elisa Haberer
Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles
Courtesy of Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

LA Phil

Los Angeles’ only major classical music company, LA Phil, is also the US’s most prestigious orchestra, which hosted its first concert in 1919. This October, Gustavo Dudamel will conduct Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz’s ‘Kauyumari’, Arturo Marquez’s ‘Fandango’ and Aaron Copland’s ‘Third Symphony’. Another 2022 highlight is acclaimed Spanish pianist Javier Perianes playing Saint-Saëns’ ‘Egyptian’ concerto and Gustavo Gimeno leading the LA Phil in Dmitri Shostakovich’s ‘Fifth Symphony’ in November.

135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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If you’re still looking for ways to satisfy your creative appetite, discover LA’s must-see art exhibitions or browse London’s art galleries.

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