With their preternatural gifts for spinning a good tune, Schubert and Rossini have more in common than you might suppose, but in other ways they were flipsides of the same coin. Rossini hankered for the success of his serious works, yet it’s his fizzing comedies that still hold the operatic stage. Schubert, of course, yearned for any kind of success in the opera house but, despite his brilliant gifts for word setting, his reputation rests primarily on his Lieder and chamber output. In an engaging entertainment, very much a game of two halves, the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra aimed to demonstrate the sonic impact of period instruments on the works of these close contemporaries.

Jakob Lehmann & ARCO. Photo © Nick Gilbert

Rossini first. With his primary colours and a focus on melody and rhythm over sophisticated harmony and atmospherics he’s perhaps not best placed to be ‘born again’ by a HIP approach. Sticking firmly to the great comedies – The Barber, The Italian Girland Cenerentola– ARCO offered 40 minutes of pure, indulgent entertainment, the performances briskly spirited with lean string tone, light and clear woodwind, and...