Culture Magazine

Bachtrack Founder’s Reviews and Posts Connect the World to Live Opera

By Galegirl
Bachtrack founder’s reviews and posts connect the world to live opera

David Karlin, founder of Bachtrack

Editor’s note: This is the second in this month’s series about Opera/Classical Bloggers.

Being the techno-mastermind behind U.K.-based Bachtrack–the world’s best way to find live classical music–might be achievement enough for some.

Not for Bachtrack founder David Karlin. Though he and his wife Alison Karlin are responsible for all the administration and marketing of the site, David has also stepped out as a masterful reviewer in addition to being Bachtrack’s blogger-of-record.

Reviews are a mainstay of many opera bloggers. Some only do reviews. Some do news and postcards. David does it all with a signature blend of respect for classical arts, great writing, technical savvy, and essential enthusiasm.

Welcome to Operatoonity, David.

O: When did you start blogging and why?
I started about three years ago, a few months after we started Bachtrack. We realised that to get search engine visibility for the main listings site, we needed to have original unique content, and I figured that the best way was to try writing some. I started enjoying the writing, and things got slightly out of hand.  . . . By the way, due to oddities in the way the site is structured, most of my writing appears on the reviews pages rather than the blog–something I’ll fix one of these days. I use the blog for anything I fancy writing about that isn’t a review.

O: What is your biggest challenge? Biggest thrill?
David: On the opera side of my writing, the biggest challenge is to be fair about Regietheater. I instinctively loathe the kind of opera production which tries to marry a perfectly good opera to a visual narrative that has little or no connection to it; I try hard to write about these on their own terms while bearing in mind the director’s artistic intent, but it’s a struggle to be polite.

Bachtrack founder’s reviews and posts connect the world to live opera

David's review of Anna Nicole on Bachtrack

There are two big thrills.

The first is that I get to see and write about some fantastic opera that I wouldn’t necessarily have gone to. The best example was the Royal Opera’s production of Steffani’s Niobe, regina di Tebe: I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special and was completely blown away. The other big thrill is when it turns out that people actually enjoy what I write and send in interesting bits of information.

O: What is your favorite post and why?
David: My favourite post is one of the shortest: the diagram I did to illuminate the impenetrable cast list of Adriana Lecouvreur. ( The review I’m most proud of is the one of Anna Nicole (, which is also the longest (but there was a lot to talk about).

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