Tuesday’s audience at Melbourne’s Recital Centre were noisy, but with mumblings of “wonderful” and interjections of “brava”, there’s nothing to complain about. They were cheering Voyage to the Moon, a Victorian Opera and Musica Viva collaboration.
With a new text by director Michael Gow that’s based on a sixteenth century poem, the score includes known and lesser-known Baroque composers including Telemann, Vivaldi, Gluck Orlandini, Handel and de Majo. Musical Director Phoebe Briggs worked with the late Alan Curtis (who died in 2015) and Calvin Bowman to make a score that celebrates Baroque while sounding like it was written for this work.
From the seven-piece chamber orchestra opening notes, it was like hearing something new and was as close to what it must have been like to be in a concert hall listening to a new Vivaldi.
With the magnificent acoustics of the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall making it easy to remember why the sound of unaltered human voices and acoustic instruments make our hearts beat in time, it was an absolute joy to hear Emma Matthews, Sally-Anne Russell and emerging artist Jeremy Kleeman in a venue that adores voices.
While more a performed concert, the design by Christina Smith (set and costume) and Matt Scott (lighting) consistently surprises with the likes of ornate late-Renaissance designs complementing a disco ball.
Tonight is the last chance to see this exquisite work in Melbourne, but it’s touring around Australia and is being recorded by ABC Classic FM.