Barcelona's El Liceu has announced a 2011-12 season which bears the scars of recent arts cuts in Spain.
The budget for next season will be 48.4 million euros, 11% less than the current season, and the lowest figure since 2001. Public subsidies currently account for half the theatre's budget. However the Government will reduce its contribution by 15% for this season and next, while the Ministry of Culture aims to reduce aid by 30% over three years.
One of management's cost-cutting ideas is to defer the start of the season to October instead of the usual September. To boost ticket revenue, programming will be more commercial, with a greater emphasis on popular titles like La Bohème and Aida. Ticket prices for these will by up to 10%. The new season will also have fewer opera performances and more concerts, with the first opera of the season, Gounod's Faust, shown in concert version. Half the productions are revivals, and there's an emphasis on longer runs of fewer operas.
In a somewhat unexciting season overall, one of the more interesting items is the pairing of Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg and Eine florentinische Tragödie. There's also a curiosity in the form of Il burbero di buon cuore - an opera buffa by Vicente Martin y Soler, with musical direction by Jordi Savall. Linda di Chamounix with Juan Diego Flórez and Diana Damrau gets a long run, as does the David McVicar Adriana Lecouvreur first seen at Covent Garden, this time with Barbara Frittoli, Dolora Zajick, Roberto Alagna and Joan Pons.
A special concert celebrating 50 years of Montserrat Caballé and three nights of opera from Bayreuth, in concert version, may prove more enticing than 18 nights of La Bohème.
The full listing is here; booking opens on 14 June for subscribers.