As Jean-Paul Sartre has it in No Exit, hell is other people. You might well draw the same conclusion from August Strindberg’s grisly proto-absurdist Ghost Sonata, which predates Sartre by nearly four decades. Dating to the heraldic year of 1984, Aribert Reimann’s chamber-scale musical setting follows his grandly operatic Lear, after Shakespeare, in which maximal expressive effects often emanated from instrumental gestures that were extremely spare. That strategy would seem made to order for our Swedish misanthrope’s waking-nightmare scenario. —M.G.
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