★★★★★ A testament to the vivacity of Australian music culture.

To those familiar with the arcana of Sydney topography, the word “Pinchgut” is synonymous with Fort Denison, since the original name of the fort was “Pinchgut Island”. For music lovers, the name is evocative of an opera company that rediscovers gems of the Baroque and early Classical operatic oeuvre. Pinchgut Opera’s production of the French composer André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry’s L’Amant Jalouxwas brilliantly choreographed, sung and staged, while the Orchestra of the Antipodes generated a fresh, crisp sound led by the inimitable Erin Helyard who conducted the orchestra from the keyboard.

It is easy to hear the influence of Grétry on the young Mozart (it has been asserted that Mozart and his librettist da Ponte were familiar with Grétry’s operas). Indeed, many of L’Amant’sarias and orchestral lines could easily have been plucked out of Figaroor Così Fan Tutte. The narrative of the opera is typically French despite its Spanish setting: characters desperately fall in and out of love; soldiers serenade loved ones; fussy maids stir up trouble at delicate moments; identities are mistaken which only heightens amorous jealousy; and a patriarch frets over the financial ramifications of his children’s...