With Voyage to the Moon, Michael Gow has made something new out of something old along with the late, great Alan Curtis.

Work Voyage to the Moon
Librettist Michael Gow
Scored for Baroque opera company
Commissioned by Musica Viva and Victorian Opera
Premiere February 15, 2016
Performers Emma Matthews, Sally-Anne Russell, Celia Craig, et al

Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furiosoprovides the plots for a huge percentage of Baroque opera libretti. I decided to add one more to the list. There’s a passage involving a journey to the moon and, as a former sci-fi nerd, I chose this section as my starting point.

My role was to provide the scenario and the English text for the piece. I wasn’t translating, I was writing entirely new English words that fitted this new story; this meant dealing with all the tricky shifts in stress that are possible in Italian but not in English and finding the right words for all those endless coloratura runs (basically anything with ‘ah’ or ‘air’ in it).

An expert in the musical period was appointed. This turned out to be Alan Curtis, an American musicologist and conductor, and one of the godfathers of the revival of baroque music. I hadn’t heard of him...