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City Recital Hall
2 Angel Place, Sydney

Running time

2 hours and 45 minutes including interval


Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Please note

This production contains haze, sex scenes, partial nudity and use of toy cap guns.


Duty and passion, old flames and new flings, music and wine all come head-to-head in a riotous night at the opera.

Irresistibly charming and wickedly funny, Orontea deftly combines Cesti’s melodic inventiveness with Cicognini’s clever and comic libretto.

Despite renouncing love, Queen Orontea finds herself falling for a handsome refugee artist, Alidoro, only to discover that she has most of the women in her court as rivals. Add to the mix her moralistic councillor Creonte, the scheming courtesan Silandra, and the maidservant Giacinta, who disguises herself as a boy – only to accidentally inspire the affections of Alidoro’s lascivious mother, Aristea.

Orontea features an artfully assembled cast led by stunning soprano Anna Dowsley – star of the film A Delicate Fire – together with Pinchgut fan-favourites David Greco, Jacqueline Dark and Andrew O’Connor. New Zealand tenor Jonathan Abernathy joins American soprano Sofia Troncoso in their Pinchgut opera debuts.

Musical heir to Monteverdi and a younger contemporary of Cavalli, Cesti was one of the most popular composers of the 17th century. When it premiered in 1656, Orontea immediately captured the public’s attention through its brilliant and skilful combination of poetry and music. Studded with memorable arias and remarkable duets, Cesti’s gifts for musical characterisation and melodic story telling are here on display for the first time in Australia.

In the spirit of Cavalli’s The Loves of Apollo and Dafne, Pinchgut Opera brings you another delicious taste of Italian opera made fresh for today’s audiences, with the promise of revelry, beauty and laughter.

Cast & Creative

Erin Helyard
Constantine Costi
Anna Dowsley
Jonathan Abernethy
Sofia Troncoso
Douglas Kelly
David Greco
Dominica Matthews
Roberta Diamond
Louis Hurley
Andrew O’Connor

Orchestra of the Antipodes