Statement from Opera Australia CEO
Thursday 19 March.
Opera Australia has been working in collaboration with the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) over recent days following the cancellation of performances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic public gathering bans.
OA CEO Rory Jeffes said that working together, the company and the MEAA have identified short term plans to ensure employees would continue to be paid, despite major programs no longer proceeding over the coming months.
“This includes musicians of the orchestra who have, in the short term, been advised that they can bring forward two weeks of their leave as there are no performances scheduled at which they can play in that period.
“Contrary to any speculation, Opera Australia is planning for the ongoing employment for musicians, performers, technicians, stagehands, wig and wardrobe staff and other employees.
“I wanted to be clear on this to avoid unnecessarily adding to the levels of anxiety everyone is feeling at present. Everything we are doing is to ensure that OA can continue to support its employees with jobs and pay over the coming weeks and months.
“We must remember that this is a global health crisis driving economy-wide impacts over which we have no control. We are working as fast as possible to adapt to this new environment to secure a future for Opera Australia and all of its people.
“To do that, the company must first remain solvent and that has been priority number one over the past few days.
“It’s a deeply unsettling time for everyone and it’s understandable there is a great sense of uncertainty and confusion that goes along with an event that we have not seen in our lifetimes.
“Opera Australia and the whole live performance industry is extremely challenged at this time. We are committed to try to find a way through. All of us simply must work together co-operatively as we are in uncharted territory.”
Update at Thursday 30 July
We’ve cancelled performances of the following productions due to COVID-19 restrictions:
- Carmen at the Sydney Opera House
- Attila at the Sydney Opera House
- Great Opera Hits at the Sydney Opera House
- Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour — La Traviata
- Bran Nue Dae at the Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay (Sydney), the Comedy Theatre (Melbourne), the Geelong Arts Centre and the Canberra Theatre Centre.
- Madama Butterfly at Arts Centre Melbourne
- Lohengrin at Arts Centre Melbourne
- Attila at Arts Centre Melbourne
- The Secret Garden at the Sydney Lyric and Her Majesty's Theatre (Melbourne)
- Roberto Devereux at the Sydney Opera House
- Aida at the Sydney Opera House
- La Juive at the Sydney Opera House
- Eugene Onegin at the Sydney Opera House
- The Light in the Piazza at the Sydney Opera House
- Fiddler on the Roof at the Sydney Opera House and Comedy Theatre (Melbourne)
- Lucrezia Borgia in concert at Sydney Town Hall and Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
The Brisbane productions of the Ring Cycle and Aida, the NSW Schools Tour of The Barber of Seville, the National Tour of Carmen, the Perth and Brisbane seasons of West Side Story, and Sydney and Melbourne seasons of Rembrandt's Wife have been postponed.
If you have tickets for a cancelled or postponed performance, you'll receive an email from the organisation you booked through with further details about how to refund or exchange your tickets.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our box offices in Sydney and Melbourne are closed to visitors.