Hooray, operatic activity in Sydney is back! Well, perhaps not quite, but performances by one of Australia’s most vibrant companies, Pinchgut Opera, occurred over the weekend. Worldwide operatic activity abruptly ceased in March when Covid-19 struck, and has only recently tentatively emerged from this enforced hibernation. Opera Australia is slated to reopen early in 2021, sooner than many other companies, while others such as the Vienna State Opera endured the frustration of resuming performances as the first wave of the pandemic subsided, only to be forced to close their doors as a second wave surged.
One benefit, if it might be so described, is that there has been a plethora of online offerings from the catalogues of many companies – a chance to explore esoteric corners of the repertoire as well as standard works. Live opera, that most expensive of performing art forms, remains in a parlous state, jeopardising the livelihoods of thousands, but it is encouraging that so many companies and festivals are announcing plans for 2021.