The Royal Opera announced its 2012/13 season today. New director Kaspar Holten has been there for a year now, so it’s fair to expect that he influenced a great deal of the new programme, albeit not all of it. The big season opener was announced several months ago: a set of four full Ring Cycles. They sold out on the first day tickets were offered, demonstrating the huge pulling power of Wagner’s magnum opus.

But even if you’re not a Wagner fan or weren’t fast enough to get your ticket requests in, the new season has plenty to excite. For a start, the Royal Opera are upping their ratio of new productions to revivals, with six new opera productions across a wide spectrum of operatic genres. There’s one newly composed opera, George Benjamin’s Written on Skin; the jubilee year is marked by Britten’s Gloriana, Holten himself directs a new Eugene Onegin. The biggest draw of the season is likely to be Plácido Domingo in a new co-production with La Scala of Nabucco; bel canto lovers will make a beeline for the dream pairing of Flórez and DiDonato in Rossini’s La donna del lago (intended to be another La Scala co-production, but the Royal Opera subsequently decided to go their own way). Those looking for the unusual should look no further than Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable, a four and a half hour epic based on the mediaeval legend that Robert the Magnificent, father of William the Conqueror was in fact the devil.

As well as Wagner, both Verdi and Britten have anniversaries. In addition to Gloriana, Britten fans will want to take a look at Albert Herring, which gets three performances in October at the smaller Linbury stage by English Touring Opera accompanied by the Aurora Orchestra, currently making a name for themselves as rising stars of the London orchestral scene. Verdi fans who want to see more than endless Rigoletto and Traviata reruns will be spoilt for choice, with Jonas Kaufmann in Don Carlo and Thomas Hampson in Simon Boccanegra, both conducted by Pappano.

Fans of modern opera also get a revival of Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur, which will also appeal to fans of Sir John Tomlinson. Puccini’s gently elegiac La Rondine gets a rare outing, again with a star pairing in the shape of Angela Gheorghiu and Vittorio Grigolo.

The rest of the season is fairly standard repertoire - the stuff that fills seats season in season out: Zauberflöte, Tosca, Bohème. But that’s a historically small percentage: it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Covent Garden season packed with so much that's interesting. Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the quality of these new productions, but as a piece of programming, it looks like a very promising start to Holten’s new tenure.