The narcotic beauty of Die Tote Stadt (pictured) sets the tone for a season of music inspired by obsessive love. Opening 27 January at the Royal Opera House, London (020-7304 4000), Willy Decker's Salzburg Festival production of Korngold's opulently scored opera represents another chance for British audiences to assess the "Viennese Puccini", though they won't have to wait too long for the real one.
On 2 February at the Coliseum, London (0871 297 0777), Jonathan Miller's ENO production of Puccini's La Bohème opens, with designs drawn from the inter-war photographs of Brassaï.
Set in 1968, Stephen Barlow's sensational production of Tosca for Opera Holland Park is revived at Richmond Theatre (0870 060 6651) from 24 February, with Amanda Echalaz sharing the title role with Julia Melinek. Welsh National Opera bucks the trend for unhappy endings with Lluis Pasqual's new production of Le nozze di Figaro at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (0870 040 2000, from 7 February) while Cupids' darts pierce sharp and sweet in Transition Opera's multi-media production of John Blow's Venus and Adonis at Wilton's Music Hall, London (020-7702 2789, 11-14 February) with Christian Curnyn directing the tiny period instruments ensemble from the harpsichord.
On Valentine's Day itself, Vassily Petrenko conducts mezzo-soprano Jane Irwin and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in Chausson's intoxicating Poèmes de l'amour et de la mer at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (0151-709 3789), while the Gabrieli Consort perform Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo and Acis and Galatea at the Wigmore Hall, London (020-7935 2141). In Birmingham's Symphony Hall (0121-780 3333) on 19 February, Andris Nelsons conducts Schoenberg's poem of desire rekindled, Verklärte Nacht.
There's more of the same at the Anvil, Basingstoke (01256 844244) on 25 February and the Royal Festival Hall, London (0800 652 6717) on 28 February, as Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia launch City of Dreams: Vienna 1900-1935, a season of music by Berg, Schoenberg, Mahler and Zemlinsky. Back at the Wigmore Hall on 27 February, the most temperate of composers, Haydn, is transformed in La Passione, a programme of Sturm und Drang symphonies and concertos played by ensemble F2 and led by violinist Rachel Podger and harpsichordist Gary Cooper.Reuse content