So the Barbican has announced its new season for 2011/12, which means that they will be encouraging us all to book up now; its depressing how everyone seems to expect punter to book up up to 18 months in advance. I can still remember when booking was always a month or two in advance of the event. The carrot, and quite a big one of course, is that if you book for enough items then you can get quite a bit of discount on the tickets - not to be sneezed at even if they are getting hundreds of pounds from you up front.
So that are they doing. Well Les Talens Lyriques are doing Lully's Phaeton, definitely high on the list as complete Lully operas are like hen's teeth in London; no soloists credited at the moment.
And of course Handel. Rebecca Bottone is appearing with the Academy of Ancient Music in Imeneo, his penultimate opera and the one where the hero (i.e. the castrato) does not get the girl, instead this goes to the baritone; perhaps explained by the fact that the baritone part was sung by a personable young (very young) man called William Savage who had first appeared as the boy Oberto in Alcina. A strong cast includes as well David Daniels and Lucy CroweLess arcane, we are being treated to Radamisto with David Daniels, Luca Pisaroni, Patricia Bardon and Elizabeth Watts with the English Consort conducted by Harry Bicket. Definitely a very strong cast. There is no information about which version of Radamisto we are getting and as it is scheduled to start at 7.30pm expect lots of cuts (or having to sit numb-bumbed through two complete acts without an interval). Les Arts Florissants are doing Belshazzar with Rosemary Joshua (as Nitocris), Sarah Connolly, Iestyn Davies and Peter Purves - quite a delectable cast conducted by William Christie.
More exotically, Mark Minkowski is doing Grieg's Peer Gynt, no actors credited so presumably just the music.
Mark Elder and the BBC SO are doing Donizetti's Belisario (did they get the idea from COG?) Not his strongest opera, but some good music.
And the Britten Sinfonia are doing Where the Wild Things Are and Higgledy Piggledy Pop under the Ryan Wigglesworth. It will be a delight to see these again as I haven't come across them since the original run at Glyndebourne.
John Eliot Gardiner is celebrating his 70th birthday by conducting Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex (with the LSO not his own band!).