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Opera Australia cancels Sydney winter season and postpones Phantom of the Opera to 2022

Opera Australia cancels Sydney winter season and postpones Phantom of the Opera to 2022
July 23, 2021

Impacted by ongoing Coronavirus lockdowns, Opera Australia has cancelled its winter season in Sydney and postponement its production of The Phantom of the Opera that was scheduled to open at the Sydney Opera House in September and Arts Centre Melbourne in November.

The company announced last week that its winter season in Sydney had been cancelled amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, stated that it was unable to proceed with the remainder of its winter season because restrictions prevent adequate preparation.

As a result, 36 performances by Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House have been cancelled.

A spokesperson for Opera Australia confirmed ticket-holders would be emailed with three options: they can convert tickets to a gift voucher for future use; donate the value of their tickets to Opera Australia; or be issued a full refund.

The four-production season was to include three Verdi operas - Aida, Attila and Otello - alongside Offenbach favourite The Tales of Hoffmann and a series of concerts.

However, following the opening night performance of Aida on 22nd June, Sydney's second major lockdown came into effect.

Now, with restrictions looking as if they will continue into the spring, the company advised that it has taken “the incredibly difficult step to postpone” both seasons of The Phantom of the Opera due to the uncertainty created by ongoing restrictions.

Opera Australia acknowledges the health and safety of the community – including its performers, crew and audiences – is of the utmost importance and respects the health advice and orders in place to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Noting that this was “a disappointing development” for the company, Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini is confident new dates will be secured for 2022, commenting “this has been a really difficult decision for OA and our partners to make and has certainly not been made lightly when so many people will be affected.

“After making box office history at the Opera House, it was clear that Australians were very excited about this new production of the world’s most successful musical, and we’d brought together a fantastic cast of Australian performers, it’s heartbreaking to have to postpone.

“Rest assured we are working hard to secure dates for 2022 in both venues, that we’ll announce as soon as we can. We encourage all those who are able, to hold onto their tickets for next year.”

From London, Producer Cameron Mackintosh added “the consequences of COVID-19 continue to disrupt people’s lives worldwide, with spikes, lockdowns and quarantine causing chaos in planning. Having got a wonderful Australian cast together for my new production of The Phantom of the Opera, due to open shortly with Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House, followed by the Arts Centre Melbourne, it is a huge disappointment, especially for the company and mostly sold-out audiences, that we have been forced by government restrictions to postpone the upcoming seasons.

“We very much hope that we will be able to confirm in the not-too-distant future that the production will open next year, by which time the vaccination rollout should be long completed and disruptions to theatre going will be an unpleasant distant memory.”

Last week also saw Sydney's annual Vivid lights festival postponed by a month until mid-September due to the COVID lockdown.

Image: Phantom of the Opera. Credit: Opera Australia.

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