★★★★☆ An inspired and telling tale of two mediums: the opera and the circus.

Palais Theatre, Melbourne
August 13, 2016

Laughter and tears. We know that opera has both in abundance, even if not always in the same work. And we also know that the genius of opera is that its laughter and tears somehow resonate with our own joys and sorrows, leaving us hopefully better off as a result of the encounter.

Victorian Opera’s latest show, produced in collaboration with Circus Oz, delivers plenty of the advertised emotional commodities and does indeed leave us better off at the end of the experience. The “tears” come presented in an engaging and relatively straightforward production of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, while the “laughter” is designed as a prelude to that well-loved verismo piece; contextualising the story and offering a pastiche of late Renaissance and Baroque vocal and instrumental morsels (including works from Monteverdi and Scarlatti through to Gesualdo) deftly chosen and orchestrated by Richard Mills, who also conducts.

Geoff Dunstan, Michele McCarthy, Michael Petruccelli, Shakira Tsindos, Daniel Carison, Kate Amos, Luke Taylor

Laughter is set in the last peaceful days of 1939 and shows...