Culture Buff

Opera Australia’s Attila before shutdown in March

24 October 2020

9:00 AM

24 October 2020

9:00 AM

Attila the Hun might have been hard to stop but Verdi’s opera Attila was stopped in its tracks at the Sydney Opera House on 14 March.

A government edict closed the Opera House and everywhere else. Attila, in a highly acclaimed co-production with La Scala, Milan had been presented only three times before the curtain was brought down on it and the rest of the Summer Season of Opera Australia.

At the time the company thought the Opera House would be closed for about two months but here we are seven months later and still no performances. The loss of box office revenue has been disastrous for the company.

But the company is looking to the future; in the expectation that performances will be viable by January, Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini is planning to announce, in early November, a recognisable Summer opera season.  It will be most interesting to see the direction Lyndon is able to take in this season because a new direction is essential; the effect of the pandemic lockdown will be long term, indeed fundamental to the ways in which opera will be presented.

The company will continue to receive $22 million in recurrent funding; it is receiving JobKeeper funding and can apply for special ‘sustainability’ support.  But it will need to be agile.

This is a world-wide situation; in the US some major houses may not reopen. I sincerely do hope that Opera Australia can re-open in January.

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