Luisa Miller, English National Opera, 12th February to 6th March
Before Rigoletto, La traviata and Il trovatore, there was Luisa Miller. In this elegant Schiller adaptation about love across the class divide we first see Verdi’s instinct for domestic relationships, his political anger and sympathy for the outsider. Take the rare opportunity to hear Verdi’s rich score in a new production by award-winning Czech director Barbora Horáková Joly. Alexander Joel conducts a tantalising cast led by lyric soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn in the title role, with Christine Rice as her rival Federica and exciting Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim as Rodolfo.
Nixon in China, Glasgow & Edinburgh, Scottish Opera, 18th February to 29th February
The premiere of John Adams’s Nixon in China in 1987 was a turning point in contemporary music. Softening the motoric churnings of American minimalism into something more expressive, combining humour and political caricature with humanity, Nixon is still a must-see. Directed by John Fulljames, Scottish Opera’s first ever staging is a major new co-production, starring Eric Greene as Nixon and Julia Sporsén as his wife Pat.
Beethoven Weekender, Barbican, 1st & 2nd February
The Barbican celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday with their Beethoven Weekender. Over two days the festival brings together five of the UK’s top orchestras (including the Halle, CBSO and Liverpool Philharmonic) for a complete cycle of the nine symphonies. Add to that string quartets and piano bagatelles, as well as a chance to hear the Kreutzer Sonata played on the composer’s own violin, and you might just have the biggest birthday party in town.