In a simultaneously unsurprising and startling move, Opera Australia, which had already cancelled all of its winter season, has now wiped clear the rest of 2020. That means that the hotly anticipated season of Lucrezia Borgia, starring Jessica Pratt and set to open in Sydney and Brisbane, has been postponed until next year at the earliest, as has the Brisbane run of the Ring Cycle and Aida.
Opera Australia is the largest arts employer in the country, and each performance is a huge affair, from deploying a full orchestra to the lavish costumes and sets involved. With a significant proportion of tickets sales snapped up by interstate and international guests, the ongoing travel restrictions mean that staging these costly extravaganzas is simply not feasible.
Opera Australia CEO Rory Jeffes was deeply disappointed to make the announcement but saw no option other than to postpone. “As disheartening as this news is, we’re really pleased to have been able to work with our partners to reschedule the season to next year. It ensures that we will be able to present outstanding performances, unrestrained by the uncertainties and restrictions in the current environment.”
Visionary Chinese director Chen Shi-Zheng was meant to direct the 15-hour Ring Cycle at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre over four nights, bringing its Valkyries, gods, dragons and giants to eye-popping life with the aid of towering LED panels that sweep across the stage.
Artistic director Lyndon Terracini reassured ticket holders that the show would go on next year. “We’ve combined some of the world’s best talent both on and off the stage for this first digital Ring Cycle, so it’s fabulous news that we’ll be able to secure dates. A great deal of work has already been completed in preparation for the Brisbane season, and this will certainly not go to waste.”
Ticket holders will be contacted with options by email soon, with 2021 date to follow.