Whether you see Schubert’s 1828 song cycle Winterreise as an epic if erratic journey through the underworld/unconscious or a snug if melancholy Biedermeier entertainment, interventions and adaptations are always justified. If for no other reason than because Schubert himself set the precedent by adding music to Wilhelm Müller’s poems in the first place.

A Winter's Journey

Allan Clayton in A Winter’s Journey, Musica Viva Australia, 2022. Photo © Bradbury Photography

Some stagings are however more successful than others. There is Matthew Lutton’s grotesquely OTT Die Winterreise with George Shevtsov and Paul Capsis. There is Netia Jones’ superb Dark Mirror: Schubert’s Winterreise, which relies on Hans Zender’s orchestration and the talents of tenor Ian Bostridge, and many, many others that I have neither seen nor heard and so cannot comment upon.

To pair Winterreise with the paintings of the great Australian artist Fred Williams (1927-1982), as director Lindy Hume’s new staging does here, is however an example of that variety of genius which makes you want to exclaim: “It’s so obvious – why...