Alternatively, you could scoot over to the Barbican website, where loads of seats have been 'dynamically priced' down to £15-£25, around half what some of them were originally going for. (Now, should we tell the Barbican why their advance sales are down this season - or just let them guess?)
The Wiener Staatsoper today announced a predictably starry and uncontroversial 2012-13 season. Of a massive 53 operas, just five are premieres:
Alceste (12. November 2012 - C: Ivor Bolton; D: Christoph Loy; with: Joseph Kaiser, Véronique Gens; Freiburger Barockorchester)
Ariadne auf Naxos (Salzburg Festival co-production) (19. December 2012 -C: Franz Welser-Möst; D: Sven-Eric Bechtolf; with: Peter Matić, Jochen Schmeckenbecher, Christine Schäfer, Stephen Gould, Daniela Fally, Krassimira Stoyanova, Norbert Ernst)
Henze's children's opera Pollicino (28. April 2013 - C: Gerrit Prießnitz; D: René Zisterer; with: Alfred Šramek, Olga Bezsmertna, Andreas Hörl, Ulrike Helzel, Simina Ivan)
Tristan und Isolde (13. June 2013 - C: Franz Welser-Möst; D: David McVicar; with: Peter Seiffert, Stephen Milling, Nina Stemme, Tomasz Konieczny, Janina Baechle)
Other highlights include Anna Netrebko in Eugene Onegin and a Renee Fleming Capriccio. Placido Domingo conducts Roméo et Juliette. And those are just a few of the crowd-pulling star names. "It looks a bit like a who's who of the opera world," said Director Dominique Meyer. He went on to boast that Vienna can still attract the best artists despite having lower maximum pay that its competitors.
Although Broadway's answer to Wozzeck has led a parallel life in the opera house, it is at heart a musical, with all the emphasis on verbal and visual storytelling that implies. And the theatrical values of this excellent production are its greatest strength - despite a roaring trade in cast soundtrack CDs in the foyer.
Jonas Kaufmann has told Die Welt he no longer signs autographs at the stage door for fear of catching germies from the mitts of his filthy fans. He's sorry to disappoint anyone, he says, but if he gets sick and cancels then even more people are let down.
On a more positive, if distant, note, he's signed up for more work with Antonio Pappano after Les Troyens. Plans include a recording of Aida, and Il trovatore, Un ballo in maschera and La forza del destino - all live.
The Cunning Little Vixen, Le Nozze di Figaro and the double bill of L'Heure Espagnole and L'Enfant et les Sortilèges will all be streamed live. The Fairy Queen and La Cenerentola have been recorded for broadcast later. The only production from this year's Festival that won't be shown is La bohème (a David McVicar revival).
All operas will be available on demand after the initial broadcast, and we are also promised "multimedia commentary".
La Monnaie have announced a characteristically adventurous new season for 2012/13, with the theme "an attempt to map human passion". It includes a new opera (by Belgian composer Benoît Mernier), new productions of Lucrezia Borgia, Manon Lescaut, Lulu and La Traviata and Michael Haneke's Così .
And you don't even need to book that Eurostar ticket; continuing this season's successful experiment, every opera will be streamed online.
The full list:
Passion: c.Franck Ollu / d.Sasha Waltz
Pelléas et Mélisande: c.Ludovic Morlot / d.Pierre Audi
Lucrezia Borgia (new production): c.Julian Reynolds / d.Guy Joosten
Così fan tutte: c.Ludovic Morlot / d.Michael Haneke
La Dispute (by Benoît Mernier, world premiere): c.Patrick Davin / d.Karl-Ernst & Ursel Herrmann
Manon Lescaut (new production): c.Carlo Rizzi / d.Mariusz Treliński
Lulu (new production): c.Lothar Koenigs / d.Krzysztof Warlikowski
La traviata (new production): c.Ádám Fischer / d.Andrea Breth
Roméo et Juliette (opera in concert): c.Evelino Pidò
For some main house productions - like The Minotaur - the prices will be the same as they were at their previous showing. For others - only Tosca and La bohème are mentioned - prices will be lower than they were before. (The price drop will apply to all tickets, top to bottom.) And for high-demand productions such as The Ring, Don Carlo, La Rondine and Nabucco, prices will be higher.
Here are the prices for the first part of the season (image copyright Royal Opera House):
To add to this week's free laptop viewing, La Monnaie are streaming a recently recorded performance of Rusalka on demand from Tuesday 27 March to Monday 16 April.
Stefan Herheim's 2008 production tells the story from the Water Goblin's perspective. Yes, Rusalka is a ho, but there are no fake pussies, and Stefan Herheim's concept is bolder and clearer than Covent Garden's recent production.
The Salzburg Festival deserves its reputation for mindbending costliness. A survey of visitors to last year's Festival found the average foreign guest spends €550 on four tickets and stays a week, paying €2,220 for accommodation and food and so on. And that's just the average - you could easily fork out a lot more.
Daniel Barenboim's Staatsoper, in its temporary premises at the Schiller Theatre, was 7,000 down on last year, and occupancy fell from 85.3% to 75.8%. Some have speculated that the Schiller is less attractive or less convenient for audiences, but I have to wonder what part 2011's rather dull programming choices played.
The Komische Oper did nearly as poorly. Its total of 157,321 visitors is 5,500 less than in 2010, and utilization fell from 61.1% to 58.9%.
The Deutsche Oper was the only house to show growth. I personally contributed to their record-busting total by attending three performances in 2011, compared with one at the Komische Oper and zero at the Staatsoper. I wasn't the only one - 11,000 additional visitors boosted its total audience to 252,000. It may have the lowest risk production style of the three houses, but could it be any coincidence that it had the most interesting and varied programme?
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