Lights hung like stars above the Orchestra of the Antipodes in Pinchgut Opera’s first live performance since the COVID-19 shutdowns. While a film project celebrating the madrigals of Barbara Strozzi kept the company busy this year, this gentle concert heralding the Christmas season at a reduced-capacity City Recital Hall was infused with a sense of relief at a return to something resembling normalcy. If the meticulous sanitisation of music stands between soloists was a reminder of the ongoing pandemic, the operation was performed more swiftly than the familiar tuning of gut strings.

Pinchgut Opera Charpentier's Messe di Minuit Pinchgut Opera performs Charpentier’s Messe di Minuit. Photo © Lando Rossi

Built around Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Messe di Minuit, this was a concert of delicate, interweaving colours and enchanting hues, from the luminous sound of Alicia Crossley’s first recorder entry in the opening of the Kyrieto Erin Helyard’s ornate solos on chamber organ, and the sonorous ensemble of singers – sopranos Chloe Lankshear and Anna Fraser, tenors Eric Peterson and Nicholas Jones, and, his darker timbre cutting through the lower reaches of...

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