A corking 2011-12 season lies ahead at the Teatro Real Madrid, courtesy of general director Gerard Mortier. Few big name singers appear, but there are some first-class conductors. With eleven productions either brand new or new to Madrid, the selection of operas and directors shows real imagination in the face of budget cuts.
A couple stand out. Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is Martin Kusej's Amsterdam production, conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, with Eva Maria Westbroek returning to the role she has made her own. A new L'Incoronazione di Poppea, arranged by Phillipe Boesmans, is directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski. Nadja Michael and Charles Castronovo star, and Sylvain Cambreling conducts Klangforum Wien.
An swift sell out is likely for Placido Domingo's appearance in the Châtelet production of Cyrano de Bergerac.
Elektra is directed by Klaus Michael Grüber and conducted by Semyon Bychkov, with an alternating cast: Christine Goerke/Deborah Polaski, Manuela Uho/Riccarda Merbeth and Jane Henschel/Rosalind Plowright.
A double bill of Iolanta (with Ekaterina Scherbachenko and Alexey Markov) and Stravinsky's Perséphone is directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Theodor Currentzis.
Mercadante's I due Figaro, conducted by Riccardo Muti, is imported from the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.
Robert Wilson turns up twice - he directs a new Pelléas et Mélisande (Paris and Salzburg co-production), and The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, the 'is-it-really-opera' performance piece featuring Antony Hegarty which premieres at the Manchester International Festival in July.
Operas in concert include Massenet's Don Quichotte with Ferruccio Furlanetto and Anna Caterina Antonacci, conducted by Marc Piollet, and Rienzi, conducted by Alejo Perez, with Burkhard Fritz and Anja Kampe.