Is it possible for a performance to be too perfect? VOX, the Sydney Philharmonia Choir’s crack team of younger choristers, brings a level of finesse to Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque, which renders the dreamy chords into an other-worldly sound. It feels somehow disembodied. Magical. Unreal.

Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre conducts the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs performing The Sacred Veil, Sydney Opera House, 2022. Photo © Keith Saunders

Lux Aurumque is one of Whitacre’s signature works, a work which has become something of a classic in choral repertoire, just as the charismatic Whitacre has become a something of a legend in the choral universe. The sound is just so good. And he’s just so nice. It’s a tricky brand in a world where things like joy and beauty seem impossibly naïve.

The Sacred Veil, given its Sydney premiere here, takes Whitacre into new territory. The extended work for cello, piano and choir, co-commissioned by Monash University, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Netherlands Radio Choir, tells the story of Whitacre’s friend and creative collaborator, Charles Antony Silvestri, whose wife Julie died of...