One feels a sense of both the deeply familiar and disarmingly different even before the proverbial curtain goes up on this newly commissioned double bill of Greek myths. Arts Centre Melbourne, the city’s perennial beacon of live theatre and opera, is finally open again after a year of darkness, but in COVID times we must queue outside to check in, wear masks and exit through the car park. The limited opening-night audience of a few hundred are the only patrons in this vast building, and the bars are closed. Even so, it’s good to be back, as Victorian Opera’s Cassandraand Echo and Narcissusproves to be a double delight, at once familiar and different.

Victorian Opera's Cassandra Shakira Dugan and Samuel Sakker in Victorian Opera’s Cassandra. Photo © Jeff Busby 

Directed by Sam Strong, these two operas of about 40 minutes each reinterpret timeless myths for our times with contrasting but cohesive approaches. Anna Cordingley’s design is minimalist yet elegant and evocative, and conductor Simon Bruckard leads bands of just four players, which both speak of the fiscal...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.