Love may be a familiar feeling, but the passion Aurora Orchestra unleashed at LSO St Luke’s was enough to leave audiences wild with desire. Exploring the darkest undertones of love—anguish, jealousy, remorse and regret—Friday night’s programme, Jealous Guy, was woven together by tango music interspersed with tragic love stories from across musical history. From Purcell to Bernstein, Mahler to Lennon, Aurora proved that love touches us all.

In the opening song, Libertango by Astor Piazzolla (arr. Ian Watson), LSO St Luke’s was immediately transformed into a late-night Argentine salon. Amidst soft red lighting, the spotlight was not on Aurora, but on a pair of tango dancers: David and Kim Benitez. With just a pair of violins, a clarinet and an accordion playing in the shadows, the fierce passion of the tango took center stage.

Even when Aurora switched gears to deliver Henry Purcell’s When I am Lain in Earth, better known as Dido’s Lament, an Argentine flair lingered. Combining Baroque music with Nuevo tango was a risky choice. But the hook of love and lust that carried throughout both songs—and in Por una cabeza by Carlos Gardel, performed after Purcell—made it an eclectic success, with a quick look at Collon’s visceral insight.

Moving onto the Adagio from Mahler’s Tenth Symphony (arr. Cliff Colnot), Aurora’s sophistication as a group shone through; a languishing viola melody played in counterpoint with brief moments of playful fragility and blaring dissonance, left audiences yearning for any semblance of tenderness.

During the interval—which was extended to allow audiences to tango themselves!—LSO St Luke’s was buzzing with anticipation for the second half of the concert. As soon as the lights dimmed, voices hushed and you could feel people shift slightly forward in their seats. Totally transfixed by David and Kim Benitez (once again) and the jealousy-inspired music of Recuerdo by Osvaldo Pugliese, it was hard to tell whether the buzz in the room was from the fiery dancing or the virtuosic accordion solo performed by Ian Watson.

Then Sam Swallow sat down at the piano. Performing Rinse Me Out (arr. Oliver Weeks), a song that laments the loss of a friend to alcoholism, Swallow’s trailing piano lines evoked more than images of a dwindling drink; his warm, yet haunting melodies were more reminiscent of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy, which Swallow performed as well. With the power of Aurora behind them, the two songs revealed the fine line between jealousy and passion, adoration and addiction.

Confronted with similar themes, but in a more upbeat fashion, Aurora presented Ian Farrington’s arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. A dramatic suite that can stand apart from the stage, Aurora brought just the right amount of punch and sparkle to portray an iconic account of star-crossed lovers.

Part of the New Moves residency at LSO St. Luke’s, Aurora pushed every type of musical boundary in Jealous Guy. Combining music with dance, Baroque with jazz-inspired tango and chamber music with poppy rock songs, Collon and his players pulled out all the stops to tackle that devil we call love.