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The ACO & Belvoir Will Present BAROQUE REVELRY Revelry in June

The immersive collaboration with Belvoir will tease out and celebrate the world of the 'sordid' Baroque.

The ACO & Belvoir Will Present BAROQUE REVELRY Revelry in June

The Australian Chamber Orchestra explores the sordid and ultra-vibrant world of the Baroque concert hall in collaboration with Belvoir, running 19-30 June in Melbourne & Sydney.

The Baroque concert hall typically evokes cliched images of pomp and splendour, where aristocratic men and women adorned in wigs and powdered makeup revelled in the height of artistic culture and sophistication. However, the reality was anything but neat and pretty. Yes, there was lavish splendour, but there was also the sordid and bawdy; a society where the sacred coexisted with the secular, the rich intermingled with the poor, and trailblazing female composers were celebrated alongside their male counterparts in concerts that embraced the chaotic and the florid.

The ACO will bring to life this ultra-vibrant world in Baroque Revelry, an immersive collaboration with Belvoir that will tease out and celebrate the world of the 'sordid' Baroque.

"What we are saying in 'sordid Baroque' is that you are not a passive audience, you are an active participant," explains ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti. "The depictions and descriptions of how audiences were in opera houses at the time... it's incredible. This program is a means to explore that; the idea is that there might be audience participation of a different kind to just sitting there, in sacrosanct silence. This is not 'shut up and listen' music, but rather 'have a damned fine time and enjoy' music."

Harpsichordist and Artistic Director of Pinchgut Opera Erin Helyard, who will join the ACO onstage, elaborates further: "The more I read accounts from opera houses in the 17th and 18th centuries, the more I realise that it was just a social meeting place, like a modern mosh pit or a night-club. People ate, they drank, they fought, they came to the show multiple times, only seeing one act at a time, they went from box to box throughout the evening. And prostitutes roamed the lower levels, where they threw oranges at bad performers."

The concert will feature music by pioneering Baroque composers including Barbara Strozzi, a composer of such popularity and renown that she had more music in print than anyone else at the time, Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, the first French woman to stage an opera, and Bohemian virtuoso violinist and composer Heinrich Biber.

The concert also features Tartini's diabolical 'Devil's Trill', a piece that takes its inspiration from a vivid dream that saw the composer sell his soul to the devil. Tartini handed his violin to the creature, who proceeded to play the most beautiful melody that he had ever heard. Upon waking, Tartini frantically transcribed the music from his dream, and the resulting piece went on to become his best-known and loved work.

Following these live concerts in Melbourne and Sydney, Baroque Revelry will be released as the final instalment in the ACO's StudioCasts 2021 Season. ACO StudioCasts is a season of high quality, online concert films that provide moving, cinematic, and musically rewarding experiences in addition to the ACO's live concert season. For further information visit

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