Armida 2016 Pinchgut Opera hero shot

World-beating baroque opera company Pinchgut stage Haydn's late masterpiece set against the Crusades

Forget massive productions with bling to spare and casts of hundreds – Pinchgut work on a more intimate scale, partly as a matter of philosophy and partly because of the smaller ensembles typical of the Baroque canon.

For this production of Haydn's 1784 opera, featuring period ensemble (and regular collaborators) Orchestra of the Antipodes, they're working with young American director Crystal Manich, who specialises in contemporary-feeling productions of baroque operas.

Armida is one of several operatic treatments of Torquato Tasso's epic poem 'Gerusalemme liberata', about a sorceress queen who is sent to derail the Crusades by wooing Christian soldier Rinaldo.

Soprano (and oratorio pro) Rachelle Durkin (who proved her comic chops in Opera Australia's operas buffa The Elixir of Love and Don Pasquale) will play the evil sorceress Armida to Swedish tenor Leif Aruhn-Solén's Rinaldo.

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