WITH the unveiling of Scottish Opera’s 2018-19 season on Wednesday, the shape of the main structure of Scotland’s music programme for the coming year is now complete, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra all having unveiled enticing seasons during the previous month.

It is probably stating the obvious to many readers of The Herald to point out that we are richly blessed north of the border, especially those music-lovers who live within striking distance of Glasgow or Edinburgh where often hard choices have to be made to make the best music fit within the available time (and budget) of even the most assiduous music lover.

The good, and challenging, news is that those decisions will be no easier in the months to come, and the better news is that those beyond the central belt of Scotland will see a growing share of the feast as well.

Top of that list has to be the reopening of Aberdeen’s Music Hall. Many would name the Archibald Simpson-designed Victorian building as Scotland’s best auditorium, and its much-delayed renovation programme comes to an end later this year (although fund-raising to meet the total bill continues) and all three orchestras have excellent concerts there in 2019.

The SCO visits in March and April with two of its featured artists for the new season. Soprano Carolyn Sampson joins regular guest conductor Richard Egarr in a programme of Purcell and Handel entitled The Brilliance of the Baroque, and French pianist Bernard Chamayou plays Ravel’s Piano Concerto in a programme that also includes Beethoven’s often-overlooked Fourth Symphony with conductor Josef Pons. In May, the Music Hall follows Edinburgh and Glasgow in hearing the first performances of Jonathan Dove’s new Accordion Concerto, the composer’s response to a commission originally given to the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, with soloist Owen Murray.

The RSNO is at His Majesty’s in Aberdeen in October with new music director Thomas Sondergard conducting Rachmaninov’s Symphony No1 and Scotland’s winner of Cardiff Singer of the World Catriona Morison joining the orchestra for Ravel’s Scheherazade. It makes its return to the Music Hall in February when new Principal Guest Conductor Elim Chan is in charge of the annual Valentines-themed programme with takes on Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev bracketing Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto.

On the same Sunday afternoon, at its Glasgow home in the City Halls, the BBC SSO is offering another view of the affairs of the heart when it is joined by the Edinburgh Festival Chorus for Lelio or The Return to Life and Karen Cargill for La mort de Cleopatre by Hector Berlioz. The SSO is in Aberdeen Music Hall ten days earlier with the city’s first taste of Chief Conductor Thomas Dausgaard’s compelling “Composer Roots” concerts. This time the focus is on Gustav Mahler and the concert, which culminates in the Symphony No.1, will uncover the work’s origins in Jewish folk music in the company of klezmer band She’Koyokh.

Fans of Mahler have other treats in store with Sondergard and the RSNO beginning a survey of the symphonies with the Fifth in October and then the Sixth next May. The SSO’s previous chief conductor Donald Runnicles returns in April in the company of mezzo Kelley O’Connor for performances of the composer’s Das Lied von der Erde in Glasgow and at Aberdeen Music Hall.

While all of those may be hot tickets in the North East, there are no prizes for guessing that they will be outstripped by the visit to the Music Hall of the RSNO and conductor Richard Kaufman in March to play The Music of Harry Potter.

At the other end of the country, the SSO starts its season with a week-long residency in Campbeltown. Following a brace of Glasgow concerts – Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein’s Songfest in the City Hall and vocal music from Strauss and Langgaard in Glasgow Cathedral – the orchestra will be embedded in the Kintyre community from the isle of Gigha to the town’s Victoria Hall.

The SCO, of course, has its customary summer schedule of touring before an especially busy Edinburgh Festival. After Haydn’s “Farewell” Symphony at the East Neuk Festival on July 1, the diary, which includes June dates in Thurso and Seil Island, embraces picturesque spots like Portree and Findhorn.

For those concerts, co-leaders Stephanie Gonley and Benjamin Gilmore are among the instrumentalists in charge, and while both the symphony orchestras have seasons that make much of their main man on the podium, it is becoming difficult to see where and when the SCO can accommodate a successor to Robin Ticciati. As well as Richard Egarr, the familiar faces of Emmanuel Krivine, Joseph Swensen, Francois Leleux, John Storgards and Andrew Manze are all present and correct in the new brochure.

Those combining the role of soloist and director also include harpsichord star Kristen Bezuidenhout, the compelling violinist Pekka Kuusisto, and Nicola Benedetti taking charge of two Mozart concertos in April. Scotland’s biggest classical music star also joins the RSNO and Sondergard in February to give the Scottish premiere of the violin concerto written for her by virtuoso jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

Scottish Opera is also making its contribution to the commitment to getting out and about, beginning in July with the first fruits of music director Stuart Stratford’s vision of productions outside conventional venues with community participation, inspired by the work of Graham Vick in Birmingham. In a tented structure in Paisley’s Seedhill Sports Ground, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci is a new promenade production with a cast of 200 directed by Bill Bankes-Jones in his own translation.

The other new productions in the season are Katya Kabanova in March, also conducted by Stratford and directed by Stephen Lawless, and the latest work by Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh, Anthropocene, where Stratford joins the director and designer partnership of Matthew Richardson and Samal Blak from the MacRae/Welsh The Devil Inside. It also plays London’s Hackney Empire.

The newly-rebadged Scottish Opera Young Company are again at the Beacon in Greenock, with a new staging of Gluck’s Orfeo & Euridice in April, and directors Daisy Evans and Sara Brodie take charge of the two excursions of Opera Highlights with four singers and a pianist visiting well over 30 small community halls and theatres.

Richardson also directs a revival of his own production of Verdi’s Rigoletto from 2011 with Rumon Gamba conducting, which opens the new season in October and visits Aberdeen and Inverness as well as Glasgow and Edinburgh. All four cities will also see Sir Thomas Allen’s revival of his 2012 Magic Flute with Tobias Ringborg in the pit.

For the first time Stratford’s Opera in Concert programme is also hitting the road, with only one – Puccini’s Edgar on October 28 – in the Theatre Royal on a Sunday afternoon. Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace is Scottish Opera’s debut at the Lammermuir Festival in St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington in September, and Stratford conducts Mascagni’s Silvano at the Glasgow City Halls and Edinburgh’s Usher Hall in April. A showcase from the young artists of the National Opera Studio with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera is at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre between the performances of Anthropocene.

It will be 2019 before see what exactly Welsh and MacRae intend by that evocative title for their new work, but it is already clear that Scotland is in an era of intense human activity, musically-speaking.

scottishopera.org.uk; rsno.org.uk; sco.org.uk; bbc.co.uk/bbcsso