Shanul Sharma of Opera Australia is feeling the troughs of pandemic as her family in India battles COVID-19
Shanul Sharma of Opera Australia is caught in the many lows of the global pandemic.
- Shanul Sharma of Opera Australia says her entire family in India has been infected with COVID-19
- Her grandmother died this week from the virus
- Sharma has had five productions canceled this year, but remains optimistic about the theater’s future
The tenor’s entire family of Indian descent contracted COVID-19 and earlier this week he lost his grandmother to the virus.
Sharma also missed the funeral of her mother who died last year, but this loss was unrelated to COVID-19.
“There was a pandemic raging in India at the time as well. Everything had to be done very quickly.
“So even if I had arrived, I would have missed everything.”
Sharma had hoped to bring her sister to Australia from India, but that plan was canceled after international borders were closed.
“The ban on people coming back from India was a little strange, but I’m sure the people in power know what they are doing,” he said.
“The reporting from India is interesting because there are times when things go unreported, or they are reported as a death from some other cause.
A devastating pandemic for the theater world
Sharma is a tenor at Opera Australia and has been with the organization since its inception in 2014.
He said the global pandemic had been “devastating” for the theater industry.
“We are trying to find a way for the theater to survive now,” he said.
“Theater is one of those things where you have to be a member of the audience to feel the emotions and the performance before your eyes.
In the past 12 months, Sharma said she canceled five productions, but remained optimistic.
“I am very lucky because I am with Opera Australia and they have looked after me for a very long time.
“Other singers aren’t that lucky, so I’m just glad I have a singing job right now.”
From metal to opera
As an opera singer, Sharma has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues and cities – the LaVerdi Auditorium in Milan, the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, the Sydney Opera House and even from the local Opera in the Alps event.
“I would say one of the most memorable moments was performing in front of the Bolshoi Opera House in Moscow,” he said.
Sharma has not always been an opera singer, beginning her vocal career as the frontman of a heavy metal band based in Wagga Wagga.
“The similarities between opera and heavy metal are virtuosity, more than anything else.
“An opera singer can sing for a very long time in a situation that is very unnatural for a male voice.
“And because the heavy metal band was so strong, I ended up singing really loud all the time to cut through the band. So, it was a seamless transition to opera.
Sharma has family ties at the border and often comes to visit her.
“My partner is from Albury and whenever I’m here I stay with his family,” he said.
“The base for me right now is my suitcase, or between Melbourne and Sydney.”