The Royal Opera House's spring season starts in March. Booking is already open for Friends of the ROH; mere punters can join the online queues on 3 February.
First up is Bellini's version of the Romeo and Juliet story, I Capuleti e i Montecchi. I haven't seen this production, but it premiered in 1984, so I'm betting on more crinolines than underpants. The big draw is the casting of Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca. The ROH have cunningly scheduled around la Netrebka's inevitable sick leave by placing performance dates at the beginning and end of March, with a big recovery break in between.
Netrebko and Garanca perform Crudel, d'onor ragioni in Vienna:
The fabulous Mark Elder conducts, and also opens one of his orchestral rehearsals to public scrutiny on 14 February - highly recommended.
The pairing of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Handel's Acis and Galatea is not just a celebration of both composers in their anniversary year - it's also the first ever co-production of the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet. Both are directed by Wayne McGregor - a bold choice, as music generally seems more an afterthought than a creative basis for his choreography. But we shall see. More ROH debutants in the cast, which includes Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Iestyn Davies and Danielle de Niese.
The Alagna circus rolls into town for Elijah Moshinsky's brutally trad production of Il trovatore. Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Sondra Radvanovsky provide the vocal backbone. Opera's own Don Johnson is also interrogated 'In Conversation' for anyone lucky enough to snag a ticket. Will Mrs A come and cheer him along from the stalls? Unlike Anna Netrebko, she's far too grand for the cheap seats
More Moshinsky with his ancient but unfussy Lohengrin, conducted by Semyon Bychkov. Man-mountain Johan Botha shares the title role with the merely stout Simon O'Neill - both are worth catching. The reliable Petra Lang and Falk Struckmann are Ortrud and Telramund, but perhaps the most interesting casting is Edith Haller, barely out of music college but already a Bayreuth veteran. She replaces the previously-advertised Anne Schwanewilms as Elsa.
Last year's hay-strewn Laurent Pelly L'elisir d'amore is speedily revived, this time with Diana Damrau and Giuseppe Filianoti.
Finally, there's a special performance of Verdi's Requiem conducted by Pappano on 13 March - soloists are Barbara Frittoli, Olga Borodina, Piotr Beczala and Ildar Abdrazakov. Be warned tickets will go quickly for this one.