Opera Australia to return to the Sydney Opera House in January

November 5, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Opera Australia will return to the Joan Sutherland Theatre stage for the first time since the coronavirus shut down its 2020 season in March, today announcing a three-month COVID-safe season that includes two productions never before performed by the Company.

From The Merry Widow


Due to open on 5 January 2021 after a hiatus of more than nine months, Australia’s largest performing arts company will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis as a more flexible organisation. Having taken a devastating financial hit, the Company is keen to expand its program to a broader audience, while staying true to its loyal subscribers and supporters, presenting some of the world’s finest opera productions.

OA’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said the impact the pandemic has had on the performers and the industry shouldn’t be underestimated, but he is glad there is finally something for everyone to look forward to.

“It’s incredibly exciting to finally be announcing a season after the year we’ve had. It’s been really difficult but everyone has worked so hard to get us to this point where we can confidently move forward with our plans for the start of 2021.

“The pandemic forced us to rethink how we structure the company and program our seasons, not just for 2021 but potentially for years to come, and still maintain our commitment to artistic integrity. We have to adapt or risk the very future of the Company,” said Terracini.


Announcing only the summer season for the Sydney Opera House, Terracini outlined the Company’s new approach to programming.

“Given that we really just don’t know what impacts this virus will have in the coming months, we’ve decided to announce each of next year’s seasons in stages to minimise the risks of having to make changes or cancellations. For now, we are announcing our first quarter Sydney Opera House performances, but we will have other exciting projects to reveal in the coming weeks and months.

“Working within the confines of the COVID-safe restrictions, we’re able to present a season that will have broad appeal. First-timers will love Lehàr’s fabulous operetta The Merry Widow and Puccini’s Tosca. Aficionados who love grand opera of the highest order will be swept away by Verdi’s Ernani, and for good measure we’ve thrown in an operatic curve ball with Bartòk’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

“I’m particularly thrilled to be bringing Ernani to Australia. It’s the second co-production we’ve done with Teatro alla Scala after the tremendous success of Attila earlier this year. We’ve managed to secure some of the world’s best singers to play alongside two of Australia’s finest, Diego Torre and Natalie Aroyan. It was the most popular of Verdi’s early works so it’s way overdue for its Opera House premiere.”

Working closely with the Sydney Opera House, the 2021 summer season will be operating within a COVID-safe environment, ensuring the health and wellbeing of both audience members and all performers is the highest priority.

The following measures have been introduced at the Sydney Opera House:

  •  Reduced venue capacities (50%) and physically-distanced theatre seating (a minimum of one empty seat between groups).
  •  Regular cleaning of high-traffic and high-touch areas with hospital-grade disinfectant.
  •  Hand sanitiser stations in frequently accessed areas and near bathroom facilities.
  •  COVID-19 safety training for all operational, frontline and contract staff, as well as on-site COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshals.


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