Following on from a discussion elsewhere on these boards I began to wonder what people reckon are the best cities, both in the UK (where most forum members seem to come from) and in the world, for music.
When I go on holiday I like to take in as much of the musical culture as my budget, my time, and my travelling companion will extend to. I found that Prague has a great amount of music, as summarised in this TripAdvisor article: Prague: Classical Music. In Budapest I found myself really spoiled for choice with a range of operas, orchestral concerts, chamber music, and solo recitals to choose from every day. In the end I opted for an opera, which was of somewhat sub-ENO standard with a good soprano, a very good concert in a church (part of a baroque music festival), and a piano recital which to this day stands out as one of the best I have ever heard. When I went to Lisbon quite recently, however, there was actually only one concert on in the city during the whole of the two weeks that I was visiting (and this was not even during the summer months when one expects it all to grind to a halt). The performance was of a good professional standard but did not stand out as anything special in my more than a quarter of a century of concert-going.
Looking at my own native London I think we could fairly say that we have some of the best opportunities in the world in terms of opera and dance (ROH, Coliseum (ENO/ENB), Sadler's Wells, The Place), concert venues (RFH, QEH, Purcell Room, Barbican Centre, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, St John's Smith Square, Kings Place, RAH, Fairfield Halls, St Martin-in-the-Fields), music festivals (Proms, London Handel, City of London, Lufthansa Baroque Music, Greenwich Early Music, Spitalfields Music Summer), music education (RAM, RCM, GSMD, Trinity Laban, LCM), and ensembles (LSO, PO, LPO, OAE, RPO, BBCSO, ASMF, CLS, ECO, LMP, London Sinfonietta, English Concert, Florilegium, Southbank Sinfonia, Nash Ensemble, Gabrieli Consort and Players, BBC Singers, Holst Singers, Bach Choir, Crouch End Festival Chorus -- and those are just the tip of the iceberg). Even during the coming rather miserable week we have some forty or so performances, including appearances by Bernarda Fink, Paul Lewis, Guy Johnston, and Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin, with new works, Sweet Violets and Carbon Life, running at Covent Garden.
When I talk to friends who live outside London it always seems that they feel that they are missing out on so much of the culture that we take for granted here in the capital. I wonder how other people rate their own native, or adopted, cities. I often have it in mind that one day I might end up living in Poland, and from what I can tell some Polish cities, especially Warsaw, do have some very interesting (what has most intrigued me so far is three different productions of The Rite of Spring in one triple bill as well as a recent festival of 20th-century chamber opera) and high quality music, but that there simply isn't as much of it. It could be that nobody thinks that this is a very interesting topic, but it interests me enough to try to get the ball rolling!