It seems the Barbican have learned a lesson from their disastrous (over)pricing policy this season. Only student freebies and last minute discounts have salvaged £85 concert after £85 concert from a windswept prairie of empty seatage.
For 2013-14, the top ticket price is £65, and this only applies to guest orchestra visits. These include Chailly and the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig with a complete cycle of Brahms’s symphonies and concertos in October 2013, Mariss Jansons with the Concertgebouw and Bruckner in April 2014 and Bernard Haitink with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in June 2014.
These aside, nearly everything has a top price of £40 or less, which should attract a few more bums back to the seats.
The season shows a welcome return to creative programming, and less reliance on star names. There are however a few big-name recitals, including Simon Keenlyside (18 Dec), Maxim Vengerov (10 Jan), Magdalena Kožená (11 Jan), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (10 Mar) and Elina Garanca (9 Apr).A Benjamin Britten festival in November 2013 includes a semi-staged Albert Herring featuring Christine Brewer amongst some more obvious names. There's also an intimate staging of Curlew River in St Giles’ Cripplegate and a dance programme from Richard Alston Dance Company.
Harrison Birtwistle's 80th birthday is celebrated with a week of concerts in May 2014, beginning with a revival many have been waiting for: a semi-staged Gawain (16 May).
The rest of the opera is of the olde type the Barbican has become known for. The ostensible pick of the bunch, the Academy of Ancient Music's semi-staged L'Orfeo on 28 September, unfortunately clashes with Peter Grimes at the Royal Festival Hall. Amongst the rest are Jephtha from The Sixteen (14 Jan), Theodora from The English Concert featuring Rosemary Joshua and Sarah Connolly (8 Feb), and Les Indes Galantes from Les Talens Lyriques (6 March).
Full details (pdf) here. Booking pages are incomplete at the time of writing.
Sale dates are:
Red Members - Monday 28 January
Orange Members - Wednesday 30 January
Yellow Members and General Public - Monday 4 February