Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy’s debut Adelaide Festival of Arts program delivers three world premieres, 16 events exclusive to Adelaide, 17 Australian premieres and the return of the Festival Club with the floating Riverbank Palais.
The Festival’s new artistic directors have stamped their artistic vision from the get-go with a debut program that features big budget and exclusive theatre and music events.
The music program, in particular, moves away from the post punk and experimental contemporary music of the David Sefton-era of the Festival with Rufus Wainwright one of the big name acts who will be in town. Wainwright will be here to present Rufus Does Judy, his recreation of Judy Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall concert as well as his first opera Prima Dona.
Anna Goldsworthy curates the three-day mini festival, Chamber Landscapes (March11-13), to be held at the Ukaria Cultural Centre in Mt Barker, which features the Australian String Quartet, Seraphim Trio, Deborah Cheetham as well as Italy’s La Gaia Scinza who will also perform at the Town Hall.
Opera returns in a big way with the previously announced Saul from former festival director Barrie Kosky, and L’Orfeo, one of the earliest opera’s ever performed, to be performed by Concerto Italiano.
Another special event is 1967, a soundtrack to the year when Australia voted to move racist clauses from the Constitution. Performers for that one-off concert include Thelma Plum, Ursula Yovich, Leah Flanagan, Yirrmal and San Sultan.
On the theatre front, The Encounter, written by celebrated actor and director Simon McBurney, will see Complicite and Royal Shakespeare Company actor Richard Katz perform the technological innovative wall of sound one-man show.
Schaubühne Theater returns to the Festival for the first time in nine years to deliver a gritty version of Shakespeare’s Richard III from director Thomas Ostermeier while Chicago’s Manual Cinema will be here with two shows, Magic City and Lula Del Ray, to showcase their real-time animation cinema, shadow puppets and multi-channel sound show.
Dance highlights include Jonathon Young’s Betroffenheit while L-E-V, the new company founded by former Batsheva Dance Company principal dancer and choreographer, Sharon Eyal, will perform two works, Killer Pig and OCD Love. One the local front, Restless Dance Company will present an intimate and immersive piece in the Hilton Hotel, Intimate Space.
Adelaide Writers’ Week also released its first round of guests that include Sebastian Barry, Jessie Burton, Madeleine Thien and Alberto Manguel.
Previous announcements include the big budget opera Saul, Neil Armfield’s The Secret River, which sees a return to the outdoor amphitheatre, the Anstey Hill Quarry, the 1988 setting for The Mahabharata. Miriam Margolyes narrates the family production of Peter and the Wolf, the Auguste Rodin exhibition, Versus Rodin: Bodies across space, will be held at the Art Gallery as will del Kathryn Bartlett’s short film Red, starring Cate Blanchett. While WOMADelaide will be headlined by the Philip Glass Ensemble and The Specials.
In other big news, the festival club makes a return after a two-year absence with the Riverbank Palais, a purpose-built floating entertainment venue that will host entertainment as well as food and wine events that will be curated by Dark MOFO’s Gill Minervini. Its full program will be announced early next year.
The full program can be viewed on the Adelaide Festival website
Adelaide Festival of Arts
March 3 to March 19