At the start of this year, Australian soprano Eleanor Lyons was in Sydney playing Donna Anna in Opera Australia’s production of Don Giovanni. Then in early March, shortly after the season had concluded, theatres around the world began to close their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lyons’ husband, conductor and pianist Vladimir Fanshil, was in Turkey at the time to conduct a concert for the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra. Two days before the start of rehearsals the concert was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Eleanor Lyons and Vladimir Fanshil. Photograph supplied
Lyons and Fanshil are usually based in Vienna. “We needed to make a snap decision about where we were going to stay for my husband knew there would soon be a complete international lockdown,” says Lyons. “With all of the theatres and concert halls closed, and our daughter happily settled in a fantastic kindergarten, we decided to stay in Sydney with our families. Vladimir arrived two days before the two-week quarantine was introduced.”
Lyons has handled the theatre lockdown pretty well so far. “It has been a time of internal reflection and refining whilst the stage lights have been off. I’m sure that...