Like many international opera singers, COVID-19 caught Australian tenor Samuel Sakker well and truly on the hop. The London-based rising star was actually in Sydney, having just arrived for what would have been a month of concerts split between Australia and New Zealand for performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnisand an Italian Opera Gala, all of them under the baton of Donald Runnicles. On returning to England, the plan was to have included his debut as Des Grieux in Puccini’s Manon Lescautat The Grange Festival where his wife Rachel would cover Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.After that, there would have been performances as Sergeant Thibault in Delius’s Margot La Rougeat Opera Holland Park, and then off to Opéra de Montreal for his debut as Laca in Janáček’s Jenůfaconducted by fellow Aussie, Alexander Briger. As career trajectories go, Sakker’s was one with considerable momentum. And then, lockdown hit.

As Rodolfo with Elizabeth Llewllyn as Mimì rehearsing La Bohèmefor Scottish Opera. Photo © James Glossop

“In the space of a week, all of my...