It was the early 17th century when composers such as Monteverdi and Cavalli first set dramatic stories to music. Add lavish costume, striking sets and a heavenly chorus, and early opera was born. The art form was born in Italy, and quickly spread throughout continental Europe to flourish and transform in places like France and Germany.
Baroque opera is revered for the weird and wonderful instruments that often appear in a baroque orchestra, including a lute, harpsichord and contrabassoon. Story lines in Baroque opera range from gut wrenching drama to uproarious comedy (and everything in between) and are often based on Greek and Roman mythology.
If you love a good story, told with passion and flair, Baroque opera is for you.

What does Baroque opera look like?

Here are some images of past Pinchgut Opera productions. Today, Baroque opera can look like anything, really!
Armida About Baroque

Haydn's Armida (2016)

Rameau's Pigmalion (2017)

Armida About Baroque

Cavali's Giasone (2013)

Ulysses About Baroque

Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses  (2019)

What does Baroque opera sound like?

This is an aria from Castor & Pollux, an opera written in 1737 and revived in 2012 by Pinchgut Opera. Notice how the richness of the human voice is complemented by the distinctive sounds of the Baroque orchestra.
Tristes apprêts from Pinchgut Opera's production of Castor & Pollux. Celeste Lazarenko, Orchestra of the Antipodes, Antony Walker conductor. Recorded at City Recital Hall Angel Place December 2012.

What is the relationship between Pinchgut Opera and Baroque opera?

Pinchgut Opera are proud to be at the forefront of bringing Baroque opera to a broader audience in Australia, and only perform works from the 17th and 18th centuries. The music of Rameau, and French Baroque opera more broadly for example, were virtually unknown in Sydney until Pinchgut started uncovering some jewels and presenting them to a broader audience.
Other companies do the more familiar operas excellently; we want to help audiences discover something new. We do so under the sure hand of Artistic Director Erin Helyard. Erin was senior lecturer in music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music before coming on full-time with Pinchgut Opera, and has published a multitude of works on the intricacies and importance of the Baroque period.
Pinchgut’s continued success proves that great stories remain great stories, beautiful music remains spellbinding and that what's old can become new again (with a little 21st century flair thrown in for good measure!)


Performances are at: City Recital Hall 2 Angel Place Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
Phone (02) 9231 9000


Bus or Train
Easily reached by public transport, the venue is situated in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, at 2 Angel Place Sydney. A map is provided here for your convenience. You may wish to visit CityRail’s website for train timetables, visit the Sydney Buses website for bus timetables or use the Transport Infoline trip planner.

Wilson Parking operates a 180-space car park next door to City Recital Hall at 123 Pitt St, Sydney. Patrons may access the Hall using the car park lift which takes patrons directly to the level where their seats are located. Patrons can access City Recital Hall foyers via the car park lift one hour prior and 30 minutes after the performance.


People often ask us what they should do at the opera…
And the truth is, we don’t mind what you do!

You can love it – but you have to tell us!
You can hate it – but you definitely have to tell us!
You can whoop and cheer and stamp your feet in appreciation.
Or you can walk home on Cloud Nine, and maybe tell all your friends.

The one thing you can’t do, is keep it to yourself.


The City Recital Hall is a 1,238 seat Hall in a shoebox shape, proven worldwide as the ideal shape for hearing western classical music. Based on the classical configuration of the 19th century European concert hall, the design includes gently raking stalls and two galleries that wrap around both sides and rear of the auditorium creating a sense of intimacy between audience and performer. 

The elegant decor of French grey, gold leaf, light timber panelling and plum coloured upholstery provides a sense of occasion, enhanced by the white marble grand staircase that sweeps up from the entry foyer to the three seating level foyers, each with their own bar.

For more information see www.cityrecitalhall.com.


More information on accessibility at our presenting venues can be found by clicking on the image of the venue below.


Pinchgut Opera is committed to making our performances accessible for all Australians.

We present our works in venues that are easily accessed by people with limited mobility and people in wheelchairs. Please contact the venue directly when booking your tickets so that we can best accommodate you.

Our operas feature surtitles in large, easy to read font projected above the action.

Our operas are audio-described for patrons with limited vision. More information on audio-described performances will be made available on the production page closer to the performance.

Our venues are fitted with hearing loops for patrons with limited hearing.

Accredited assistance dogs are welcome in our venues.

If we can do anything to make your visit to Pinchgut Opera more comfortable, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@pinchgutopera.com.au


City Recital Hall

Melbourne Recital Centre
Pinchgut Opera acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the first story-tellers and singers of songs. We pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging. 
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