It felt like business as usual with the City Recital Hall back to full capacity and barely a mask in sight, except on the faces of the ushers and bar staff, when Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra took to the stage for the first night of their Higher Angels tour.

Sara Macliver, Adam Masters and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Photo © Keith Saunders

With the stalls filled to capacity and only a few spaces in the first and second circles, a delighted Dyer beamed from ear to ear as he welcomed the audience to a program of Handel arias and orchestral interludes featuring Australia’s favourite Baroque soprano Sara Macliver and London-based fellow Western Australian countertenor Russell Harcourt.

As with all Australian Brandenburg Orchestra concerts the founder and artistic director told the backstory to the concert, in this case how the tour got its name Higher Angels. Dyer and Macliver were performing for Princess Diana at a charity dinner in 1996 to raise money for the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Unit. Also on the bill was pop star...