Gluck’s comic masterpiece

Gluck’s rarely performed comic opera Les pèlerins de la Mecque (The Pilgrims to Mecca) comes to life this week in a co-production between the The Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Opera Studio and its Early Music Ensemble.

The last of Gluck’s comic operas, it was written in 1764 and is also known as La Rencontre imprévue (The Unexpected Encounter).  It is considered a masterpiece of the genre, structured as a Comédie mêlée d’ariettes (comedy mixed with brief arias), a form of French comic opera that emerged in the middle of the 18th century.

Sung in French with English surtitles, the plot is a paradigm of tales from the orient, combining adventure and the exotic and involving a rescue from a harem. If this sounds familiar – you’re right – this opera became a model for Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio).

The production is directed by Brendan Carmody, who last year was the inaugural winner of the Berlin New Music Opera Award which enabled him to travel to Berlin to work with Barry Kosky at the Komische Oper. Paulo Montoya is the Assistant Director with early music specialist Neal Peres Da Costa conducting.

Tickets: Adult $35; Conc. $25; Friends $20; Student $10;

Book at: or call (02) 8256 2222

Contact: Sydney Conservatorium of Music T: +61 2 9351 1222

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