The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's new season at the South Bank Centre has the theme of Queens, Heroines and Ladykillers running through many of the concerts. They open with reigning diva Anna Caterina Antonacci in scenes from operas by Cherubini, Gluck and Berlioz conducted by Sir Roger Norrington. In addition to Cherubini's Medee and Gluck's Iphigenie (from Iphigenie en Tauride) she will be performing Didon's farewell from Berlioz's Les Troyens. For those of us that have seen Antonacci on stage memorably as Cassandre from the same opera, it will be an opportunity to hear her in the other role. You also get Bizet's Symphony in C, which strikes me as being slightly odd company.
Still with divas, Sarah Connolly sings scenes from Purcell, Rameau and Charpentier under conductor Jonathon Cohen on 9 November. Purcell's Dido this time, instead of Berlioz's, plus Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie and Charpentier's Medee. A nice element of compare and contrast here. Shame that they didn't manage to fit in Cavalli's Medea and Didon just for completeness!
On March 2013 it is Emma Bell's turn with Elettra from Idomeneo (her account of the role was the best thing in the ENO's production of the opera), Beethoven's Leonora and Reiza from Weber's Oberon (her famous scena, Ocean, thou mighty monster). Marin Alsop conducts and the orchestra play the overtures from Idomeneo and Fidelio plus Schumann's 2nd Symphony.
Finally on 3 June, William Christie directs a concert in tribute to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Nervously stepping into the great mezzo-sopranos shoes are mezzo-sopranos Stephanie D'oustrac, Anna Stephany and Renata Pokupic. The composer is Handel, with arias from Theodora, Hercules, Ariodante and Giulio Cesare plus two Concerto Grossos.
In addition, four iconic works get an airing during the season, all in strong performances. Messiah (with Julia Doyle, Tim Mead, John Mark Ainsley, Matthew Brook and Robert Howarth), Haydn's Creation (with Sophie Bevan, Andrew Kennedy and Adam Fischer), Mozart's Jupiter Symphony (with Sir Simon Rattle) and Vivaldi's Four Seasons (with Kati Debretzeni and choreographer Henri Oguke).
Further details from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment website.