As hundreds of people entered a two-week hotel quarantine in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, they probably didn’t expect to end their stay with dinner and a show.
However, on Monday night some 460 guests who have spent the last fortnight in quarantine at the Sofitel Wentworth were treated to exactly that.
Opera Australia’s principal soprano Jane Ede joined with three singers from the hotel’s company Accor for a live performance lasting for more than an hour.
The audience, on their last night in confinement, were able to watch the outdoor garden terrace performance from their balconies, or on their in-room televisions or devices.
It really was dinner and a show, with guests also treated to a three-course meal to accompany the experience.
The horseshoe arrangement of the rooms formed a sort of amphitheatre for the musical affair, which included of a range of songs from “O mio babbino caro” by Puccini to “I Still Call Australia Home” by Peter Allen.
“We did feel a real connection to the audience, they were giving us a lovely response,” Ms Ede told AAP on Monday.
“They were cheering and dancing and waving their phones with the lights (on).
“One gentlemen every time I walked back to the room where we were waiting between numbers, he would call down compliments – bravo and thank you very much.”
The unorthodox set-up made for the “ideal concert venue” with lovely acoustics as the sound bounced off the horseshoe shape of the rooms, Ms Ede said.
The show ended with “Time to Say Goodbye”, originally performed by Andrea Bocelli, which Ms Ede said was “sort of a goodbye to the quarantine for the guests”.
“(The performance) was a real moment of coming together and a real moment of connection and particularly for people that have been in isolation – 14 days is a long time,” she said.
For the soprano, who has starred in productions of The Marriage of Figaro, La Boheme, Don Giovanni and Falstaff among many others, it was her first live performance since March.
“Normally we’re very busy through this whole period but obviously health comes first, so the performances have been cancelled for a number of months and it was special to get out there and sing again,” Ms Ede said.
“I’ve been doing a lot of singing at home but it is different to be in front of an audience and to get that sort of energy transfer that comes with a live concert.”