Some guys like a challenge. Landing on a remote Greek isle to claim a princess bride he has never met, Prince Theagenes gets the brush from Deidamia, the princess. He then hits on Deidamia’s Amazonian bosom companion Pyrrha, who really smacks him down. In the ensuing soliloquy, Theagenes—the mezzo Sabina Puertolas in a penciled-on Van Dyke—goes off like a stick of dynamite, picturing Pyrrha in armor, like Athena ablaze on the battlefield. Fasten your seatbelts!

Filmed at Madrid’s Teatro Real on February 25, Francesco Corselli’s Achille In Sciro had lain forgotten since its premiere at a royal wedding, also in Madrid, in 1744. Francesco who? An Italian of French extraction born in 1705, this mystery man made his fortune as composer-in-chief at the Spanish court. Now that Handel has reentered the operatic mainstream and Vivaldi is nipping at his heels, there’s curiosity value in the efforts of their contemporaries, but not many have skyrocketed into view the way Corselli has just done. Can worldwide revivals of his wild-and-crazy Homeric sitcom be far behind?

And who’s this other lady? Gilding the lily, the neo-Rococo production interpolates tangential business charmingly enacted by uncredited mimes. Background: The ladies of the chorus at their embroidery.

Achille in Sciro (“Achilles on the isle of Skyros”) is set to one of the 27 formulaic go-to libretti by the pseudonymous Pietro Metastasio, a corpus that gave rise to a whopping 800-plus operas. “Pyrrha” is in truth the young Achilles, spirited away by his sea-goddess mother Thetis to sit out the Trojan War. Deidamia, no fool, has penetrated his disguise, and the two have grown inseparable. But here comes the Greek general Ulysses to reel in the budding hero for Agamemnon’s army.

What with all the masquerading and machinations, this is Baroque buffoonery at its nuttiest, set to exciting music. Even so, until Theagenes lights the fuse, you just might be on the fence. True, the countertenor Gabriel Díaz, as Achilles, has you from hello with his sharp nose and piercing eyes, a galumphing linebacker gauche panniers, playing peekaboo behind red tresses even as he itches for manly weapons and manly glory. At the top of the show, he hoots a lot (an occupational hazard for falsettists), but when his instrument warms up, and it does, watch out! As Deidamia, the soprano Francesca Aspromonte charts a similar trajectory. As Ulysses, the countertenor Tim Mead has his act together from the get-go.

The baroque specialist Ivor Bolton conducts from the harpsichord with a galvanic hand. Early on, Corselli’s instrumental palette seems vigorous but unvaried. Wrong! In time, dulcet recorders join in, as do splashy trumpets, castanets (this is Spain!), and could those ethereal vibrations be the chime of a glockenspiel? The composer’s predilection for bracing music in minor keys is another delightful surprise. If Mariame Clément’s stylish neo-Rococo production flirts with camp, that’s okay. Supercharged emotional absurdity comes with the territory.

Achille in Sciro is available for streaming on the OperaVision Web site

Matthew Gurewitsch writes about opera and classical music for AIR MAIL.He lives in Hawaii