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Ongoing Coronavirus restrictions lead to nationwide cancellations for Opera Australia

Ongoing Coronavirus restrictions lead to nationwide cancellations for Opera Australia
May 16, 2020

Opera Australia has announced a further round of cancellations due to the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions that will bring the total number of performances that it has either cancelled or postponed in 2020 to more than 570 across the country.

Reflecting on the impact the Coronavirus is having on both the company and the arts industry as a whole, Opera Australia Chief Executive, Rory Jeffes stated “Opera Australia had more than 730 performances scheduled for 2020 across the nation … these cancellations are devastating to an unparalleled degree for performers and audiences alike.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to be making these announcements, but the health and well-being of the extended Opera Australia community remains our highest priority.

“By complying with the restrictions mandated in suppressing the virus across Australia.

“The impact on the whole sector is simply heartbreaking for everyone for whom the arts area vital part of their lives. We are working hard behind the scenes to ensure we keep the national opera company intact for both our staff and patrons for when we emerge on the other side of this crisis. Inspiring audiences is in the DNA of Opera Australia and we are determined to be ready for when we are able to do so again.”

Among the losses is the eagerly awaited Australian premiere of a new production of Fiddler on the Roof (A Fidler Afn Dakh), co-produced with John Frost and sung entirely in Yiddish that was due to open at the Sydney Opera House in September before moving to Melbourne in November.

The heart-warming musical has been hit hard by the international travel ban, making it impossible for the key creative members, including Oscar and Tony Award winning director Joel Grey, to travel from the USA for auditions and rehearsals, rendering it impossible to stage the show.

The ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings also means the cancellation of Opera Australia’s entire winter season of five productions that was due to open on 25th June in the Joan Sutherland Theatre.

The program included the premiere of Davide Livermore’s next digital instalment of Donizetti’s Tudor Queens trilogy, Roberto Devereux, starring Jennifer Rowley who was to make her Opera Australia debut as Elizabeth I.

The cancellations also include Great Opera Hits and return seasons of Aida, La Juive and Eugene Onegin while the keenly anticipated Australian premiere of the Tony Award Winning Light in the Piazza, that was due to open in August and would have seen the on stage pairing of Grammy Award winner Renee Fleming and celebrated performer Alex Jennings, has also been cancelled.

Postponing the premiere seasons of Rembrandt’s Wife, a new Australian opera by Andrew Ford and Sue Smith, that was to be performed in Opera Australia’s workshop in Surry Hills and Coopers Malthouse in Melbourne in September, is also a result of the ongoing restrictions on mass gatherings.

The final two legs of West Side Story’s hugely successful international tour, due to open at the Crown Theatre in Perth on 3rd July, and then moving to QPAC in Brisbane on 24th July, have been postponed with discussions continuing between co-producers GWB Entertainment and the BB Group, along with the respective venues, to reschedule to 2021when restrictions on domestic travel and public gatherings have potentially relaxed.

Opera Australia’s annual national tour, which would have travelled throughout Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and the ACT with a new production of Bizet’s Carmen by resident director Matthew Barclay, has also been postponed to 2021.

Due to open in Dandenong on 17th July before travelling to 30 cities and towns, Opera Australia is now working with all the venues to secure new dates for next year. Patrons holding tickets for any of the above shows will be contacted with details regarding the refund process, and are asked to consider supporting the survival of OA through this crisis by donating, where possible,the value of their tickets back to the company or exchanging for a gift voucher that is valid for future productions across the next three years.

Image: Opera Australia’s production of West Side Story.

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7th May 2020 - Sydney’s Theatre Royal to reopen in 2021 under management of UK theatre impresario Sir Howard Panter

5th May 2020 - Live Performance Australia slams NSW Government’s lack of support for cultural sector in crisis during Coronavirus crisis

4th May 2020 - Theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh says West End and Broadway shows will be ‘last to go back’

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25th March 2020 - Opera Australia announces employee support package to limit Coronavirus impact

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14th March 2020 - Sydney Theatre Company responds to advice on Coronavirus

13th March 2020 - Live Performance Australia calls for urgent government action to protect $2.5 billion industry

30th January 2020 - Sydney Opera House concert hall to close for two-year refurbishment program

6th December 2019 - Opera Australia offers Walk on Roles for $5000

11th October 2019 - Australia’s Cultural Ministers agree to new framework for the performing arts

9th September 2019 - Touring regional performing arts to receive $1.6 million federal funding

31st May 2019 - QPAC Lyric Theatre delivers free simulcast across Queensland of Bolshoi Ballet epic 

13th May 2019 - Victorian Opera Announces New Chief Executive

23rd April 2019 - Opera Australia’s West Side Story breaks all box office records

23rd March 2018 - Opera Australia introduces more flexible ticketing options for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

9th August 2017 - QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre reborn after $2.3 million refurbishment

13th July 2017 - Opera Australia delivering 19 performances across regional Australia

26th October 2016 - Opera Australia Chief Executive heads to new position at London’s Royal Albert Hall


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