Adelaide Festival 2010

The program for the Adelaide Festival of Arts was launched the other day, and it's looking good. Three or four shows I'm really looking forward to seeing.

The big news for the general public was that the Northern Lights is back this year. This was a big hit at the last festival, drawing large crowds every night. For those who don't know (and why would you if you're not from Adelaide), it was light display along North Terrace where artists projected graphics and illustrations in to the buildings. Each one was custom made to fit the shape of the building exactly. It was rather stunning and a hit with the public (which is rare for the Festival of Arts. generally the events aren't really crowd-pleasers. That's what the Fringe festival is for). The graphics changed, but they switched between various "skins", no animation. It would be great if they were able to incorporate some this year like some of the swankier stuff you see on the net, but with such a large canvass to cover (about six large buildings), I doubt it. Here are some photos I took of it last time:

The second big event that has been getting a lot of buzz is a performance of Mahler's 8th Symphony, nicknamed the "Symphony Of A Thousand", because that's roughly how many people you need to stage a performance of it. It is HUGE. By all accounts, you're lucky if you get to see it performed more than once in your life, since it is so rarely performed due to the difficulty of getting that many musicians together at any one time. A family friend of our is a massive fan of Mahler and has recommended I definitely see it, so I've already got my tickets and am listening to some recordings to become familiar with it, but I doubt anything will prepare me for hearing that many people performing at the same time.

The third event the Festival seems to be pushing this year is Le Grand Macabre. This is an opera, and from the publicity it's getting this seems to be getting positioned as the premier event of the program. It is being put together by La Fura dels Baus - who created the Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony and is also known around these parts for their controversial production at the 1996 Adelaide Festival which features simulated and actual sex performed live (I believe, '96 was a while before I was paying attention to this stuff). The entire production takes place within the body of a woman, and the body parts have been flown over piece by piece. The set is supposedly massive and complex. I've got no idea what the music is like, but the set and production design is enough to convince me I need to get tickets.

Le Grand Macabre promo photo

Other productions I'm excited about seeing include the opening night fireworks performance and Shanghai Beauty, a dance piece choreographed and performed by Jin Xing, China's most famous contemporary choreographer who hit the headlines when she successfully transitioned from a male to a female 15 years ago. The show supposedly explores sex identity and sexuality. Rayna likes going to see dance performances and the themes are right up her alley (so to speak), so I think we'll both enjoy that. Plenty more stuff to see, but those are my main highlights. Hopefully it's enough to make me forget they're not bringing back the Persian Gardens, which has been a mainstay of the last few and was a great place to hang out with and have a few drinks before and after performances. Check out the full programme here and book early so that by the time it rolls around, you have lots of money to spend on all the Fringe Festival events that will be going on at the same time. Rest assured I will update with my impressions of the shows.

Full disclosure: I am currently employed at the graphic design studio that devised and implemented the visual identity for the 2008 Adelaide Festival of Arts, which I worked on. My father also is a long-time employee of the State Opera of South Australia, who are co-presenting Le Grand Macabre.
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leedigsdeep said...

Don't know why I didn't take the opportunity to see the lights last year. I was in Adelaide at the time and somehow avoided them. Also, that show with 1000 performers sounds incredible. What a huge sound that would be!

adelaide dance said...

cool, i'm excited about the adelaide festival and the fringe festival next year, it's going to be awesome!