Ms Saunders wrote to Opera Australia asking if they would stage a recital in the garden for her 89-year-old grandfather, himself a former singer and lifelong music fan. Ede jumped at the chance.

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“We have all these performers sitting around missing performing and we have all these people feeling isolated,” Ede said. “What a brilliant idea to bring the two together. We’re all learning to do things a little differently at the moment.”

Ede was singing in Carmen at the Sydney Opera House when Opera Australia cancelled all productions on March 15 and had other big roles coming up.

“Every so often I open my diary and I look at what was there,” she said. “But it has actually had some unexpected benefits, too. My husband and I are both singers. We’ve been doing little passion projects, which we don’t always get the time to do.”

Ede’s sudden availability was also an unexpected benefit for Paul Shelton, his wife, Phyllis, and their neighbours at the Wesley Mission-run retirement village.

“It’s absolutely marvellous,” Phyllis said. “We can’t believe it. It is so lovely of Jane to give her time up.”

Wesley Mission CEO Rev Keith Garner was also keen to accentuate the positive side of the pandemic

“One of the silver linings of this crisis is that it has brought people together in ways that would never have happened before,” he said.

Ede, who was evidently enjoying the chance to perform again in front of the small but appreciative audience, finished her recital with an emotional rendition of the 1960s hit You’ll Never Walk Alone.



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