The best music concerts and opera to see this year

From Wagner to Elton John, make sure you book your tickets for the pick of this year's music performances

Not only is Britain globally renowned for musical plenty, but also for the rich array of settings where that bounty can be enjoyed. In London alone, from the domed splendour of the Royal Albert Hall to the bijou opulence of Wigmore Hall, superb spaces enhance every genre and occasion. Birmingham’s Symphony Hall sets a standard for acoustic excellence and other regional centres such as the Sage Gateshead animate performances of all sorts.

Exciting new venues expand the scope of the musical scene, whether in the state-of-the-art facilities of Saffron Hall or the candlelit intimacy of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, which hosts enchanting performances of Baroque rarities with the Royal Opera, as a distinctive addition to the company’s world-famous productions in Covent Garden.

Indeed, music theatre in Britain is particularly well served, especially by the unique institution of country-house opera, synonymous everywhere with the magnificent gardens and theatre at Glyndebourne. But then, this green and pleasant land is full of music, from grand auditoriums to country churches that become concert halls for local festivals.

Where will the music take you in 2016? Anywhere you like, in a perfect unity of harmonious works, great performances and beautiful settings.

By Geoffrey Smith

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La Traviata
January 16–March 19
Verdi’s tragic opera directed by Richard Eyre. Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London WC2, tickets from £9
(020–7304 4000;

Recitals by students of The Yehudi Menuhin School and Friends’ Lunch
February 13, 5pm, and February 14, 3pm
Virtuoso violins at Blair Atholl, Lude House, Blair Atholl, Perthshire. Tickets £15, children £7.50
(01796 481230;

Quartets for the End of Time with The Chilingirian Quartet: Concerts by Candlelight
February 22
Levon Chilingirian leads a programme composed inside two 20th-century prison camps. Shakespeare’s Globe, London SE1, 7.30pm, tickets from £10
(; 020–7902 1400)

Music in Country Churches
Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire: May 20, 21; Castle Acre, Norfolk: July 26, 27; Orford, Suffolk: September 2, 3
(01603 628319;

Cosí fan tutte
June 4–5
Part of the seventh annual Lismore Opera Festival at Lismore Castle, Co Water-ford. Tickets from €55
(; 00 353 58 72516)

Elton John and His Band
June 11
Leicestershire County Cricket Club, 5pm, tickets from £41.25
(0844 338 8000;;

Cambridge University Musical Society, Classical Music
June 11
Elgar’s ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ with conductor Stephen Cleobury, Director of Music at King’s College Cambridge, in a debut Saffron Hall appearance. Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden, Essex, 7.30pm, tickets from £10 (0845 548 7650;

The Planets—An HD Odyssey
June 25
Holst’s stellar suite performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by a film created in collaboration with NASA. Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 7.30pm, tickets from £25
(0121–345 0600;

Opera North: Wagner’s Ring Cycle
July 5–July 10
The full cycle performed as Wagner intended it in the space of six days. Sage Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. Tickets available for the full cycle only, from £72
(0191–443 4666;

Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August 11–28
A revival of the 1981 Glyndeb-ourne production directed by Peter Hall. London Phil-harmonic Orchestra, Glyndebourne, East Sussex. Booking opens to the public on March 7, earlier for members. Tickets from £50
(01273 815000;

The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage 2016
This year’s pilgimage will feature works by Byrd, Tallis and Arvo Pärt and the tour will start on April 8 in Cam-bridge and wend its way around the country, finishing on Nov-ember 3 at Kings Place. Tickets on sale from January 18.
(020–7936 3420;