But I'm not sure I'm as excited as I should be. Arguably there was rather too much Britten in 2013, but there's been no arguing about the opportunities the year offered to explore his works beyond the pieces that hold a place in the repertoire anyway. Things were different with Wagner and Verdi. The absence of a Verdi opera at the no-rumty-tums-here-thank-you Proms was regrettable, but Daniel Barenboim's Ring there was probably my highlight of the whole year, and certainly better than the occasionally thought-provoking but overwhelmingly disappointing Frank Castorf Ring at Bayreuth. Elsewhere the programming, in London at least, was of pretty standard-rep fare, with the exception of Les Vêpres siciliennes. And any hopes of last-minute Erlösung from the Royal Opera's Parsifal were ill-founded.
returning to London after over a decade--although it does mean I'm facing the tricky task of providing a concise account of its gestation for the Royal Opera House's programme.
There's also the Richard Jones Glyndebourne Rosenkavalier to look forward to (Octavian as a '50s boy scout, perhaps?), and a CBSO concert of the same piece. And the opportunity to see Ariadne auf Naxos in London again is not to be missed; having listened to/watched two dozen recordings of it for an upcoming Gramophone collection, I've fully realised quite what a glorious thing it is.
But what about the rarities? Watching the Deutsche Oper Berlin's production of Die Liebe der Danae on Blu-ray last year made me realise what stunning music that score has in it (especially once past the wordy first act, and the first scene of Act 2, hampered by Herr Professor Hans Gregor's pernickety libretto). Searching around on Youtube, I've discovered that there was a Dutch Radio performance, starring Anne Schwanewilms, in September, which some lovely person has uploaded. It's a shame, though, that in what is possibly my favourite passage (from 38'00) the soprano sounds like she's singing from the cloakroom. I can't seem to embed the clip, but this link will take you there.
The final scene, following a gorgeous Zwischenspiel, is pretty glorious, too. From 31'40 in this clip, which I can embed. Obviously.
Schwanewilms is singing Danae in Frankfurt--alas only in concert--later in the year, with a cast that is also going down the road to perform the piece in Garmisch. But no staging seems to be on the cards in the 2013-14 season. Perhaps 2014-15 will provide...
Those with time to go to Palermo will have a chance this month to see Feuersnot, which is also being performed in Dresden in May, but not in the Semperoper, where it was premiered, which really is a shame. Here's the Love Scene, in its orchestral guise, which it would be great to hear in concert at least.
Dresden's also doing Guntram in concert. There are a few other interesting performances of the rarer works around and about (a new Daphne in Toulouse's intimate Théâtre du Capitole is already in my sights); but for London-based Straussians in search of something a bit unusual, it could be an expensive year. Or maybe the Proms has something special up its sleeve, and let's not forget that Manchester's Strauss's Voice festival kicks off today. I suppose we should be grateful for what we have, though: Strauss would certainly be the first to decry the almost total neglect of his fellow anniversarian, Gluck.