Review in "Ink Pellet", the arts magazine for teachers

June 18, 2023

I'm sincerely grateful that the book has been chosen for review in the April/May 2023 edition of Ink Pellet, the arts magazine for teachers. Susan Elkin has focussed her review on Chapter 22:

This is the front cover of the April/May 2023 edition of Ink Pellet:


Article in 'Wagner News', March 2023

April 01, 2023

I found opera through Wagner. 

I can still remember coming home in early 1977 (aged either 13 or 14, I don't have the exact date) with a new £1.25 EMI Classics for Pleasure LP which I'd bought in town after school, on the way to the bus stop. Highlights from Götterdämmerung with Rita Hunter and Alberto Remedios, sung in German, LPO conducted by Charles Mackerras. The Arthur Rackham immolation drawing on the cover. I remember where I was s…

Visitors from Planet Hugill

December 01, 2022

A warm welcome to all who found their way here through the blog of the composer Robert Hugill. His reviews of musical events form a cornucopian record of London at its best. I recommend anyone who is unfamiliar with it to explore Robert's site, and his music is a once-heard never-forgotten meditative soundworld.

I was following Planet Hugill reviews of music in London long before I knew what a blog was. I sometimes printed Planet Hugill reviews out at h…

In 'Opera' magazine (December 2022)

November 12, 2022

"Novel and ambitious... Banks's knowledgeable and above all thoughtful explorations are wide ranging... Though his discussions are inevitably short (around 200 works are looked at), they are invariably to the point and well argued... and his views are stimulating"  (George Hall in the December 2022 edition of Opera).

I've been enjoying George Hall's writing for decades, in the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Stage and elsewhere. For many years Editor-in-Chi…

"In Conversation" with ENO

November 07, 2022

By kind permission of ENO, here is the transcript of the "in conversation" with Damien Kennedy on 12 October 2022. 


Damien Kennedy (Music Library and Surtitles Manager at ENO)

Hello everyone, and welcome to Simon Banks, I'm delighted you could come and join us tonight on ENO TV.  Simon is a writer of articles on opera & history and he's written a book which has recently been published called "Opera: The Autobiography of the Wes…

Forthcoming book reviews

November 06, 2022

Great to hear that the book will be reviewed in the December 2022 edition of Opera magazine, available online from 8 November, in-store from 15 November. 

Looking further ahead, a review of the book will also appear in the January 2023 edition of Opera Now, available from mid-December.

Thank you to English National Opera!

October 13, 2022

Many thanks to English National Opera for inviting me to talk about my book 'Opera: the Autobiography of the Western World' with the ENO friends last night, 12 October.

My sincere gratitude to Will and Nina at ENO events for the invite, and for making me feel so welcome.  Also, warm thanks to Grace Kendall, ENO Philanthropy Co-ordinator, for administering the complex IT without a hitch whilst hosting the event simultaneously.  And a big th…

ENO TV - 12 October

September 26, 2022

Text below copied from the English National Opera TV page (in the 'Support Us' section of the ENO website): 

"We are delighted to be talking to Simon Banks, author of the fascinating new book Opera: The Autobiography of the Western World. This book – beginning with the Creation and ending in the present day – is a chronology of myth and history as told in opera. Unlike anything previously published, this is a book for lovers of history and the arts, and for…

1 2