Another hiatus in live performance in Melbourne due to recent community spread of COVID-19 cases is making life feel like we are the moles avoiding being struck by the hammer in the once popular arcade game Whac-A-Mole. Restrictions have hammered down on the live arts scene again, this time postponing the world premiere of Yorta Yorta composer, librettist and soprano Deborah Cheetham’s Parrwang Lifts the Sky, scheduled to open on 12 June. The upside is that the new work, produced by Victorian Opera in association with Indigenous opera company Short Black Opera, did take to the stage at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse Theatre during lockdown, and was recorded for digital streaming from 19 June.

Parrwang Lifts the Sky. Photograph © Mel Serjeant

Based on a traditional story connected to Wadawurrung Country, a region covering more than 10,000 square kilometres on the western side of Melbourne, Cheetham’s 50-minute one-act work is highly accessible. In a vibrant production directed by Elizabeth Hill-Cooper, Parrwang Lifts the Sky is operatic theatre for the entire family. The colourfully painted story – a parable of sorts – is uplifting...