A monthly selection of forthcoming events recommended by The Spectator's
Gawain, Covent Garden (071 240 1066), from 2 June. Harrison Birtwistle's long-awaited new opera, with a libretto adapted by David Harsent from the mediaeval poem. Francois Le Roux sings the title role, Elgar Howarth conducts.
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Coliseum (071 836 3161), from 6 June. The ENO revives David Pountney's brazen and striking production of Shostakovitch's powerfully vicious opera of marital shenanigans. Josephine Barstow repeats her acclaimed interpretation of the title role.
Les contes d'Hoffmann, Covent Garden (071 240 1066), from 15 June. Veteran Spanish tenor Alfredo Kraus, still an immaculate stylist, sings in a strongly cast revival of Offenbach's attempt at grand opera. Sensational Rumanian soprano Leontina Vaduva is Antonia. Jeffrey Tate conducts.
La clemenza di Tito, Glyndebourne (0273 541111), from 28 June. Mozart's neglected opera seria is presented for the first time at Glyndebourne, conducted by Andrew Davis. Nicholas Hytner produces and Philip Langridge, Ashley Putnam and Diana Montague lead a strong cast.
Pet Shop Boys, Birmingham NEC, 2-3 June; Wembley Arena, 8-9 June. The concerts of the year, if their last tour was anything to go by: pure pop theatricality, allied to the best repertoire of hit singles of the past ten years. Camper than Butlin's and far more enjoyable.
Vanilla Ice, touring, 19-30 June. America's favourite rapper, which may have more to do with his colour (white) and cheekbones (razor-sharp) than any innate talent. Expect a hype of Madonna- esque proportions.
Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, Galerie Besson, WI, 4-19 June. A must for serious collectors of ceramics.
The T.T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art, V & A, from 13 June. Demonstrates that controversy about interactive displays, Popularisation and the new museology is misplaced. This should become a model for museums around the world.
Designing Yourself, Design Museum, SE1, 5 June-15 September. The Design Museum's second anniversary celebrated with a refreshing anti-design-classic show organised by Peter Dormer. Shows how 'ordinary people' create their environment through dress, eating, homemaking and gardening.
Stanley Spencer, Norwich Castle Museum. Work from Tate Gallery's extensive holding brings idiosyncratic genius to provinces.
Sheila Fell, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, till 23 June. Any who missed it at the RA must see this moving show of 60-odd works by superb Cumbrian artist.
Edouard Vuillard, JPL Fine Arts, WI, till 28 June. Rare chance to see extensive selection by elegant French artist.
Original Eyes, Tate Gallery Liverpool. Best of British watercolours 1750-1850. Also young sculptor Alison Wilding.
Ernest Wilhem Nay, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, from 8 June. Colourful developer of abstract art in Germany is little known here.
One of the most interesting walled gardens in England is that cultivated by James and Louisa Arbuthnott at Stone House Cottage at Stone in Worcestershire. Although this is hardly a climatically favoured spot, the walls shelter many fine but rather tender plants. The Arbuthnotts also run a nursery just outside the garden where they sell unusual wall plants and climbers, as well as herbaceous plants. The garden is open for the National Gardens Scheme every Sunday in June, from 10 until 6.
The Rose Tattoo, Playhouse (071 839 4401), 11 June. Peter Hall directs one of Tennesee Williams's most highly charged plays about lust and longing in an Italian immigrant community in America. Harriet Walters leads a strong cast.
The White Devil, Olivier (071 928 2252), 13 June. Philip Prowse returns to the National Theatre to direct Webster's tragedy. A very
Edouard Vuillard's sketchbook study of his grandmother, c. 1890
strong cast includes Eleanor Bron, the matchless Robert Eddison, T.P. McKenna, Dennis Quilley and Josette Simon.
Troilus and Cressida, The Pit (071 638 4141), 18 June. The main triumph of the last RSC Stratford season transfers to London. Simon Russell Beale's Thersites is particularly good.
June looks like a good month for thrillers. A Kiss Before Dying is written and directed by James Dearden, who wrote Fatal Attraction. Sean Young plays a newly married woman investigating the murder of her twin sister.
State of Grace is about the real-life Westies, an Irish gang of thugs who terrorised New York in the Seventies. It is directed by Phil Joanou and stars Sean Penn and lovely, never-puts-a-foot-wrong Gary Oldman.
At the other end of the culture scale there is Where Angels Fear To Tread, another adaptation from E.M. Forster, set in Tuscany (again) and directed by Charles Sturridge. The cast is classy: Helen Mirren, Barbara Jefford, Rupert Graves, Judy Davis and Helena Bonham- Carter.
The Southampton Film Festival features 'France on Film', including three premieres. Nottingham's Crime and Mystery Festival includes nearly 50 films, as well as exhibitions, lectures and other events. Gabriele Annan
Royal Ballet, Covent Garden (071 240 1066), 5-14 June. Splendid triple bill consisting of Ashton's Scenes de Ballet and Nijinska's landmark works Les Biches and Les Noces.
English National Ballet, London Coliseum (071 836 3161), 24 June-6 July. The two-week season features works by Cranko, Hynd and Bruce, also the London premieres of Our Waltzes by Vicente Nebrada and Anne Frank by Mauricio Wainrot.
Festivals this month include Aldeburgh (7-23), Bournemouth (7-30), Exeter (12-29), Greenwich (till 16), Spitalfields (6-28), Ludlow (from 22), Nottingham (till 8), and Sevenoaks (17-27).
The Lufthansa Baroque Festival will be held in St James's Piccadilly between 28 May and 27 June. Highlights include Musics Antigua Prague making their London debut (1st), Emma Kirkby singing Telemann and Bach (5th), the Baroque Soloists from Dresden (14th), Handel's Samson (20th) and Vivaldi's La ninfa e it pastore (27th).