By Sunday morning more than 2000 people had watched the performance live or on YouTube after it ended, more than could have watched it in the Opera House itself.
Regardless of the inherent strangeness of playing to an empty room, Pask said she was committed to ensuring she delivered a show with her regular level of energy.
“I promised myself I would go all out, I knew my aim was wanting to look down the camera and connect with an audience like I would if I were there and I wanted to give them all I had in the moment,” she said.
The Opera House has been releasing concerts, talks and other performances each week as part of their From Our House To Yours series ranging from Missy Higgins performing in the forecourt in 2019 to Nigella Lawson discussing cooking. Pask’s live stream was the first of several planned over the next two months while the venue remains closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike other live streamed concerts, which have frequently been done from performer’s homes, the Opera House has the benefit of a fully functioning broadcast centre.
Pask’s performance was live streamed into people’s homes via a five-camera set up that was fed directly into the broadcast centre where a director was able to switch vision between cameras live as the concert took place.
The result was a highly professional production that could easily be released commercially.
For Pask, however, there was one single benefit she won’t forget from the 45-minute set.
“I am just happy to be performing again, and to be with my band,” she said.
She was joined on stage by her regular trio, double bassist Phil Stack, drummer Tim Firth and pianist Dr Kevin Hunt. They played seven songs, including a touching tribute to the late jazz legend Don Burrows. The group hadn’t played together since February at the Brisbane Jazz Club.
“As soon as we walked off stage we said ‘let’s do it again next week, but let’s go for an hour’. We still had another set in us, definitely,” Pask said.
The Opera House will announce future live performances in coming weeks.
Nathanael Cooper is a senior culture writer at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age with a focus on music.