Voyage To The Moon – A Baroque Pasticcio From Musica Viva

Phoebe Briggs, Jeremy Kleeman, Emma Matthews and Sally-Anne Russell in Musica Viva's Voyage to the Moon.
Phoebe Briggs, Jeremy Kleeman, Emma Matthews and Sally-Anne Russell star in Musica Viva’s Voyage to the Moon.

Update: Musica Viva and Victorian Opera advise that the performance of Voyage to the Moon on Tuesday 23 February will be closed to the public in order to prioritise conditions for recording this world premiere Australian production.

The other Sydney performances on 22 and 27 February will take place as scheduled.

We look forward to he recording!!

Musica Viva kicks off its 2016 Concerts Season in February with a new co-production with Victorian Opera, Voyage to the Moon, a brand new chamber opera written and directed by Michael Gow, to a musical score by the late American harpsichordist, musicologist and conductor, Alan Curtis.

Featuring soprano Emma Matthews and mezzo-soprano Sally-Anne Russell, Voyage to the Moon will also welcome newcomer, bass-baritone Jeremy Kleeman to the stage, along with an ensemble of experienced period chamber musicians led from the harpsichord by Phoebe Briggs, Head of Music at Victorian Opera.

It is a number of years since Music Viva last presented a theatrical music performance. This pasticcio work uses music from a wide range of Baroque operas to set a new libretto based loosely on the Renaissance epic poem, Orlando Furioso. 

Speaking about the creative process, Michael Gow says, “I was asked to write the libretto for a Baroque pasticcio. I decided to go to one of the greatest sources of Baroque libretti, Ariosto’s epic poem, Orlando Furioso. Most of the score was assembled in collaboration with Alan Curtis, a towering figure in the modern rediscovery of the music of this era. Sadly Alan passed away before we finished it, but most of it was done.”

The storyline in Voyage to the Moon is an off-the-wall tale of madness, marvels, magic and healing.

“Orlando (Matthews) goes mad when he learns that his beloved loves another, and he goes off rampaging around the world,” explains Gow. “His friend Astolfo (Russell) learns that everything that has been lost on Earth is stored on the moon. With the help of a Magus (Kleeman), Astolfo goes to the moon and through his loyalty persuades a fierce Lunar to let him take Orlando’s sanity. He returns to Earth and cures his friend.

A semi-staged, costumed theatre-piece, there will also be a visual element to the production, Gow explains.
“The visual element we will use will be very simple, able to be put up and taken down quite quickly. Lighting will tell a lot of the story…. You’ll hear some great music. There’s Handel and Vivaldi and there’ll be pieces you’ve never heard before, sometimes by composers you’ve never heard of, performed by three wonderful singers who are also very good actors,” he says. “It is the best of both worlds: theatre and music.”

Bookings: call  1800 688 482 or visit

Research Project and Engagement Activities
Voyage to the Moon is a collaboration between Musica Viva and Victorian Opera, in partnership with a team of academics, led by Professor Jane Davidson, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for The History of Emotions. As part of the Voyage to the Moon tour, the Centre will offer audiences a chance to actively engage with the creative work. Opportunities include a number of pre- and post-concert talks with members of the creative team, as well as workshops with the musicians, seminars, and other events.

In Sydney, the Centre will track audience members’ emotional experiences throughout the performance using software available on iPads. Audience members around the country will also be able to give detailed feedback in a post-concert survey. For more information on the engagement activities around Voyage to the Moon, please visit

For more information on the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for The History of Emotions, visit


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *