Opera to return to Sydney after virus hiatus

A sign about the Covid-19 coronavirus is displayed at the Opera House in Sydney on Dec. 30, 2020, as authorities work to suppress a growing cluster of cases in Australia’s most populous city. (AFP)
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Updated 02 January 2021

Opera to return to Sydney after virus hiatus

  • The outbreak of over 180 cases first emerged in December in Sydney’s northeast but has since sparked other clusters
  • Areas of Sydney remain under lockdown and officials have suggested further restrictions may be needed

SYDNEY: The finishing touches were being put on a glitzy show at the Sydney Opera House Saturday, as the venue prepared to host an opera crowd for the 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 everyone involved,” he said.
“I think throughout this year, other opera houses will be opening very soon and people will be coming back to the theater with a sense of hope.”
Thanks to Australia’s success in suppressing the virus, crowds inside venues — including the Sydney Opera House — have been permitted in the country’s most populous city for months.
But even as the performers readied for their opening night, an outbreak in the city forced officials to tighten restrictions — including a new mandate on mask-wearing on public transport and in many 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.
Areas of Sydney remain under lockdown and officials have suggested further restrictions may be needed to curb the spread — which could include a change to audiences at indoor performances.
Julie Lea Goodwin, who leads the show along with Alexander Lewis, said she was thrilled to be back performing but after a nine-month hiatus the uncertainty of the pandemic still loomed.
“I have no idea what’s ahead,” Goodwin said.
“I think that Australia is doing an unbelievable job... but it’s just going to be a process for the next year, I’d say, or longer.”
Australia has recorded over 28,400 cases of the virus and 909 deaths linked to Covid-19 in a population of about 25 million.


What We Are Reading Today: Blood, Powder, and Residue by Beth A. Bechky

Updated 22 January 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Blood, Powder, and Residue by Beth A. Bechky

The findings of forensic science — from DNA profiles and chemical identifications of illegal drugs to comparisons of bullets, fingerprints, and shoeprints — are widely used in police investigations and courtroom proceedings. While we recognize the significance of this evidence for criminal justice, the actual work of forensic scientists is rarely examined and largely misunderstood. Blood, Powder, and Residue goes inside a metropolitan crime laboratory to shed light on the complex social forces that underlie the analysis of forensic evidence, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
Drawing on 18 months of rigorous fieldwork in a crime lab of a major metro area, Beth Bechky tells the stories of the forensic scientists who struggle to deliver unbiased science while under intense pressure from adversarial lawyers, escalating standards of evidence, and critical public scrutiny. Bechky brings to life the daily challenges these scientists face, from the painstaking screening and testing of evidence to making communal decisions about writing up the lab report, all while worrying about attorneys asking them uninformed questions in court.