The finishing touches were being placed on a glitzy show at the Sydney Opera House Saturday, as the venue ready to sponsor an opera crowd for the very first time since March."The Merry Widow" will open on Tuesday to masked audiences up to 75 percent capacity, in a sign of hope for a performing arts industry crippled by the pandemic, artistic director Lyndon Terracini told AFP. "
Walking back into the theater was a very emotional time for everybody involved," he said. "I think throughout this season, different opera houses will become opening very soon and persons will be coming back to the theater with a feeling of hope." Because of Australia's success in suppressing the virus, crowds inside venues - like the Sydney Opera House - have already been permitted in the country's most populous city for months.
But even while the performers readied for their opening night, an outbreak in the town forced officials to tighten restrictions - including a fresh mandate on mask-wearing in public transfer and in lots of indoor settings from midnight Saturday.
The outbreak of over 180 cases first emerged in December in Sydney's northeast but has since sparked other clusters, including in Melbourne.Regions of Sydney remain under lockdown and officials have got suggested further restrictions may be needed to curb the spread - that could include a change to audiences in indoor performances.
Julie Lea Goodwin, who leads the express along with Alexander Lewis, said she was thrilled to end up being back performing but after a nine-month hiatus the uncertainty of the pandemic even now loomed."I have no thought what's ahead," Goodwin said."I feel that Australia is doing an unbelievable job... but it's just likely to be considered a process for the next yr, I'd say, or longer."