A prolific commissioner of new works, Victorian Opera presents another world premiere with this operatic cabaret that wears its feminist intellect on its sleeve. Directed by Sarah Giles, Lorelei showcases a trio of talented actor-singers who embody an ancient myth, then pull it apart with contemporary humour, rage and despair. From music and lyrics to set and costumes, it’s an engaging package whose appeal goes well beyond the usual opera crowd.

Dimity Shepherd, Ali McGregor and Antoinette Halloran in Victorian Opera’s Lorelei. Photo © Pia Johnson

Inspired by the sirens of Greek legend, the German story of Lorelei is about a creature who sits on a rock overlooking the River Rhine, luring sailors to their deaths with her beauty and song. In this new work, we get an unholy trinity of Loreleis, who each relate a slightly different version of her back story. In essence, however, her beauty was a source of temptation for men, her lover was unfaithful and, after being condemned to live out her life in a convent, she fell from that rock and was reborn a siren.

The three Lorelei prepare to sing their deadly song as a boat approaches,...