Opera in London (March 2009)

March is a busy month for opera in the capital, with three openings at the main houses and a flurry of activity at the schools and other venues.

It’s a wide-ranging programme, taking in the earliest English opera and work written within the last few years.

Royal Opera House

The latest revival of David McVicar’s Rigoletto ends its run on 1 March, while recent opener Der fliegende Hollander starring Bryn Terfel continues to play until the 10th. A hot ticket because of its stars (the glamorous Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca) is Bellini’s take on the Romeo and Juliet story I Capuletti e I Montecchi. This revival of Pier Luigi Pizzi’s production opens on 2 March and has half a dozen performances through to early April. The great Mark Elder waves the baton.

The big new opening right at the end of the month is Wayne McGregor’s production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea in a double bill with Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. McGregor is resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet and this is a collaboration between the two companies. This too has a star cast, with Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe and Danielle de Niese, and baroque specialist Christopher Hogwood in the pit. Box Office: 020 7304 4000 or www.roh.org.uk

London Coliseum

Jonathan Miller’s La boheme with Alfie Boe concludes its run, as does the recently premiered Doctor Atomic. David Alden’s Olivier Award-winning Jenufa for ENO returns for a second run, opening on 12 March. Amanda Roocroft (winner of an Olivier for her performance in the title role) is back as the tragic heroine. Box Office: 0871 911 0200 or www.eno.org

Hackney Empire

English Touring Opera open their Spring tour at Hackney on 12 March, with brand new productions of The Magic Flute and another Janacek opera Katya Kabanova, before taking them on tour around the UK. Box Office: 020 8985 2424 or www.hackneyempire.co.uk

Royal Academy of Music

In this 200th anniversary year for the composer, Royal Academy Opera are presenting one of Haydn’s rarely-performed operas La fedeltà premiata (Fidelity Rewarded) at the Sir Jack Lyons Theatre on Marylebone Road, from 2 to 9 March. Trevor Pinnock will conduct the students in this pastoral tale that they tell us will resemble a Carry On film in places. The excellent young director Alessandro Talevi is in charge of the production. Box Office: 020 7873 7300.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

GSMD will give the first revival in this country of Aulis Sallinen’s The King Goes Forth to France since its UK premiere at Covent Garden in 1987. A long memory tells us that this “contemporary fantasy on themes from Froissart’s account of the Hundred Years War” was well worth seeing. This time, director is Martin Lloyd-Evans and Clive Timms conducts. It takes place in the school’s Silk Street theatre in the Barbican from 4 to 11 March. Box Office: 0845 120 7500 or www.barbican.org.uk

Barbican Hall

On 27 March, Jiri Belohlavek will conduct a concert performance of Martinu’s thrilling dream opera Julietta. Czech mezzo Magdalena Kozena is the star attraction . Box Office: 020 7638 8891 or www.barbican.org.uk

– Simon Thomas