Booking for the ROH autumn season begins on 13 June for Friends (public booking 10 July). It will be the first time the new website handles a major booking date. And it will be a test of grit, judging by the recent test run. To date this has drawn a total of 282 comments on the ROH website, around 280 of them negative. You have been warned.
Autumn's big event is of course the Ring Cycle. All four cycles went on sale last year and sold out immediately. Returns only if you weren't lucky then.
Because the Ring occupies such a major chunk of the schedule, there are just three further main house productions on offer this time round.
L'elisir d'amore, which opens on 13 November, is a revival of Laurent Pelly's whimsical '50s-styled production. Roberto Alagna may be the oldest Nemorino in town, but the role plays to his strengths otherwise. The reliably perky Aleksandra Kurzak is Adina, and Ambrogio Maestri, fresh from his Falstaff triumph, is the devious Dulcamara.
Pelly also masterminds the new production of Robert le diable, opening on 6 December. Daniel Oren will conduct. After much dithering, the ROH have announced that the highly promising American soprano Jennifer Rowley makes her Covent Garden debut earlier than expected, replacing the pregnant Diana Damrau in the key role of Isabelle. I understand she's also pencilled in for a major role next season - check her out here to find out why. Marina Poplavskaya, John Relyea and current nominal house tenor Bryan Hymel fill out the cast. I have no idea how this will turn out, but the rarity value alone makes it essential.
Finally, The Minotaur is reprised for the first time on 17 January 2013. Most of the original cast return, including Sir John Tomlinson in the title role, and Sir Tony conducts again. Top ticket price is £65, which should help shift the posh seats.
There are also yet more performances of La bohème for anyone left unsatiated by the current run.
Also well worth catching are English Touring Opera's brand new productions in the Linbury: Albert Herring, The Emperor of Atlantis, and The Lighthouse.
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