Simon Lobelson is the latest singer required to summon the five octaves required for Maxwell Davies’ ‘mad’ King George.

One of the more curious things you might have noted about the passing of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies earlier this year is how a composer who was such an enfant terribleback in the 1960s could end up the fondly admired Master of the Queen’s Music with a host of ‘popular’ compositions to his name like the catchy An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise, or suites of songs to be sung by Scottish schoolkids.

Next week in Sydney, the ambitious Verbrugghen Ensemble are aiming to put the record straight by winding back the clock on Sir Peter in a programme entitled Of Magic and Madness, the centrepiece of which will be a performance of one of his seminal early works: Eight Songs for a Mad King. Directed by Kate Gaul, the production will feature baritone Simon Lobelson as the deranged King George III as well as a bold new work by composer Matthew Hindson ( This Year’s Apocalypse) and the lyrical Sextuor Mystiqueby Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Maxwell Davies with Simon Rattle in...

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