As Sydney’s live performance scene carefully reopens in the COVID-19 era, what tradeoffs are required for safety? I’ve come to the City Recital Hall to luxuriate in live music, a rare event in 2020. Entering the foyer, I am about to discover that the rules for health precautions vary according to each venue.

In September, four major Sydney performing arts venues have gingerly reopened with new coronavirus-mandated social distancing and cleaning regimes in place. Besides City Recital Hall, there are shows to be seen at reduced audience capacity at Belvoir Street Theatre, the Seymour Centre and Sydney Theatre Company’s home venue, the Roslyn Packer Theatre.

All four venues are taking audience members’ temperatures. I see no fellow patrons refuse to have the thermometer gun pointed at their foreheads on arrival here at City Recital Hall, for this matinee of Australian Chamber Orchestra’s ACO Transfigured, which will segue from William Barton’s Didge Fusionto 18 string players tackling Mendelssohn and Schoenberg. I clock in at 36.3 degrees, within the normal range that varies for individuals.

Australian Chamber Orchestra performing ACO...