Opera Australia's 2012 season has been officially launched. It's combative and equine. By which I mean, it's all about the warhorses. Below is Operabase's list of the 20 most frequently performed operas worldwide since 2005. The ones in bold are in Opera Australia's season.
1. Die Zauberflöte
2. La traviata (Opera on the Harbour)
4. La bohème
5. Le nozze di Figaro
7. Don Giovanni (Oz Opera tour)
8. Madama Butterfly
9. Il barbiere di Siviglia
11. Così fan tutte
12. L'elisir d'amore
14. Hänsel und Gretel
16. Die Fledermaus
18. Eugene Onegin
19. Lucia di Lammermoor
Operas in the season which don't make this list are: The Merry Widow (#22), Salome (#32), Pearlfishers (#80), A Midsummer Night's Dream (#84), Die Tote Stadt (#138) and South Pacific, which is not an opera so not ranked.
My opinion of this season is more or less irrelevant, given that I don't live in Australia any more. I also don't have any fundamental objection to warhorses per se; there's a reason the favourites are the favourites, they're always going to be the backbone of most opera seasons, and rightly so. I can tell you, though, that if I was still in Australia, I wouldn't be jumping for joy over this season. There's plenty worth seeing and hearing — and I'd still go to everything — but I like variety and novelty and a challenge, and the fact is that, in only five years of operagoing (and four of those based in Sydney), I've seen all but two of these operas on stage at least once before.
Then again, those two are two of the most exciting things ever, because they're both awesome operas — Die Tote Stadt and Salome — and they both feature Cheryl Barker. AND they've been scheduled to coincide perfectly with trips we already had planned to Australia. Thank you, opera gods. Frankly I might resign myself to a whole year of nothing but Carmen and Bohème if it meant Cheryl's Salome and Marie/Marietta at the end. She's that good.