BBC Proms 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall
BBC Proms 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall

After the bumper crop of operas at last year's BBC Proms, nine complete works in total, there are just three in the 2014 season. While it was Wagner who hogged the limelight in 2013, it's the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss's birth that provides the focus this time with performances of Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra and Salome.

Other staged works include American director Peter Sellars's realisation of Bach's St Matthew Passion (being performed alongside the St John's Passion for the first time at the Proms) and a concert version of Cole Porter's classic musical Kiss Me Kate with the John Wilson Orchestra.

Christine Goerke
Christine Goerke
© Christian Steiner

For Strauss lovers there's the exciting prospect of Glyndebourne's visit on 22 July with Der Rosenkavalier in the new production by Richard Jones, which opens at the Sussex opera house on 17 May. The enticing casting includes Kate Royal's first Marschallin, Tara Erraught as the title character and Teodora Gheorghiu as Sophie. New Music Director Robin Ticciati conducts the LPO.

Salome on 30 August sees Donald Runnicles return to the festival with the Deustche Oper Berlin, with Nina Stemme in the title role and the other early Strauss shocker, Elektra, sees Semyon Bychkov conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra the following night. Christine Goerke is the vengeful daughter, with Felicity Palmer as Klytaemnestra and John Reuter as Orest. What opera at the Proms lacks in quantity this year is made up for in sheer quality.

There are more ways than ever to listen to this year's programme of concerts, through radio, TV and digital means but there's nothing like experiencing world class music live, so 17 May, when booking opens, is a key date for the diary.