★★★★☆ A musically sublime but visually slight journey to Baroque heaven.

Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre
February 15, 2016

Presenting a new opera can be a bit of a gamble. As one of the more eye-wateringly expensive art forms, mounting a work without an already established following can be a game of box office roulette; the failure of an extravagantly financed production to put bums on seats can mean economic ruin for an opera company. However, Richard Mills and Carl Vine, both composers as well as the Artistic Directors of Victorian Opera and Musica Viva respectively, have found a loophole in this scenario. Drawing on a catalogue of tried and tested Baroque operatic favourites, knitted together via the  Pasticciotradition popular during the 18th-century, Voyage to the Moonis new wine in old bottles, offering something aesthetically familiar reframed to tell a different story.

Sally-Anne Russell and Emma Matthews (photo: Jeff Busby)

Writer and director Michael Gow has also sourced a historically sympathetic narrative for this work, using Ludovico Ariosto’s 16th-century epic poem, Orlando Furioso, as the foundation for his plot.

Orlando...