Collar open, clutching a bouquet of roses and kicking through a carpet of bright confetti that rustles like dead leaves, Janik – the protagonist of Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared– sings his obsessive lament in the nauseous aftermath of a party in this new staging of the song cycle by director Alexander Berlage.

Future Remains Jessica O’Donoghue and Andrew Goodwin in Sydney Chamber Opera’s Diary of One Who Disappearedas part of Sydney Opera House’s digital season. Photo © Craig Wall

The cycle of 22 short songs – written between 1917 and 1919, inspired by a mid-60s Janáček’s own obsession with Kamila Stösslová, a married woman nearly four decades younger than himself – tells the story of a village boy who falls in love with a Gypsy girl, Zefka, leaving his family to be with her after she becomes pregnant. Spot-lit, trapped, in a circle of confetti bounded by darkness, Berlage’s production for Sydney Chamber Opera at Carriageworks gives us a Janik – exquisitely sung by tenor Andrew Goodwin – flailing in an ambiguous world where it’s unclear whether...

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