Opera returns to Sydney after virus hiatus

SYDNEY (AFP) – The finishing touches were being put on a glitzy show at the Sydney Opera House yesterday, as the venue prepared to host a crowd for the first time since COVID-19 put a stop to performances in March.

The Merry Widow will open on Tuesday to masked audiences up to 75 per cent capacity, in a sign of hope for a performing arts industry crippled by the pandemic, Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini told AFP.

“Walking back into the theatre was a very emotional time for everyone involved,” he said.

“I think throughout this year, other opera houses will be opening very soon and people will be coming back to the theatre with a sense of hope.”

Thanks to Australia’s success in suppressing the virus, crowds inside venues – including the Sydney Opera House – have been permitted in the country’s most populous city for months.

But even as the performers readied for their opening night, an outbreak in the city forced officials to tighten restrictions – including a new mandate on mask-wearing on public transport and in many indoor settings from last night.