PARIS Les Troyens Opéra National de Paris (Oct. 11-Nov. 14; 33-1/72-29-35-35; www.operadeparis.fr). The stage director Herbert Wernicke's sudden death in 2002 left a hole in the international opera scene that this production, a tribute to him based on his own sketches and plans for its staging—sets, costumes, and lighting—attempts to fill. Soprano Deborah Polaski takes on the double role of Cassandra and Dido in Berlioz's five-hour monument to Virgil's Aeneid. MILAN Aïda Teatro alla Scala (Dec. 7-Jan. 12; 39-02/860-775; www.teatroallascala.org). La Scala opens its season with a celebration of grand opera's gold standard: Verdi's classic in a new production by Franco Zeffirelli, with vocal big guns Violeta Urmana, as Aïda, and Roberto Alagna, as Radames.
NEW YORK Steve Reich @70 Brooklyn Academy of Music/Carnegie Hall/Lincoln Center (Oct. 3-Nov. 4; www.reich70.com). Once considered a controversial minimalist, now hailed as one of our greatest composers, Steve Reich has steadily followed his muse. A mark of his stature is the unprecedented collaboration of three prominent institutions to celebrate his 70th year, in programs that range from chamber music to stage works. The First Emperor Metropolitan Opera (Dec. 21-Jan. 25; 212/362-6000; www.metopera.org). The Met unveils a world premiere of imperial opulence. Leading artistic lights from East and West meet for this one: composer Tan Dun, librettist Ha Jin, film director Zhang Yimou, costume designer Emi Wada, and tenor Plácido Domingo create the tale of Qin Shi Huang, the emperor who unified China, in 221 B.C. MIAMI Grand Opening Carnival Center for the Performing Arts (Oct. 5-8; 866/949-6722; www.carnivalcenter.org). This new and long-awaited Miami facility will be launched with performances by everyone from Gloria Estefan to the Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov, kicking off a season whose highlights range from Florida Grand Opera's Aïda (Oct. 28-Nov. 30) to the new winter residency of the Cleveland Orchestra (January). COSTA MESA, CALIFORNIA Der Ring des Nibelungen Orange County Performing Arts Center (Oct. 6-11; 714/556-2787; www.ocpac.org). The Mariinsky Theater's production has been called one of the most important Ring cycles of our time, and conductor Valery Gergiev leads the first North American performances of this staging of Wagner's epic to help celebrate the opening of the center's new concert hall by Cesar Pelli—part of six weeks of festivities (through Oct. 22) that include world premieres by William Bolcom and Philip Glass and two full weeks of Mariinsky performances, from opera (Boris Godunov will also be heard) to concerts to two ballets. MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota Orchestra Orchestra Hall (800/292-4141; www.minnesotaorchestra.org). Hiring an oddly named Finnish conductor as music director may have seemed daring, but Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra have moved together from strength to strength. Vänskä is launching a multiyear cycle of Bruckner's 10 symphonies (0 to 9), starting with Die Nullte (0) on a program with Górecki's Third Symphony, which will feature soprano Nicole Cabell (Nov. 2).—Anne Midgette