Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito is not one of Mozart's easiest operas to stage or appreciate.
But by wrenching it out of its Ancient Roman setting and recasting it in some European military state between the world wars, English Touring Opera offered an intelligent perspective on its central issue, which is that of a leader faced with the question of how to exert command and the respect of his people in the face of subversive agendas. To forgive or to punish?
James Conway's production, in its straightforward unfussy way, and by humanising the interwoven relationships, was refreshing from start to finishInevitably, Friday's Perth performance lost considerable sharpness due to Mark Wilde's throat infection and the requirement of an offstage tenor (Ashley Catling) to sing to his mimed performance.
But that aside, ETO's evenly balanced cast kept the dynamic alive.
Indeed, there were few weak musical links.