29 October 2019: TVC crept in to Bonython Hall at Adelaide University on a beautiful Spring Morning for the launch of the programme for the internationally renowned Adelaide Arts Festival (& Adelaide Writer’s Festival) in February/March 2020, the AF’s 60th year. Expect ABC documentaries and coffee-table books aplenty!
“The Big Reveal” (yes, ‘reveal’ is now a noun, evidently) was preceded by some homilies from Aunty Georgina Williams Ngankiburka Mekaune, Senior Woman of Water, who also dropped the (yawn-inducing) Welcome to Country upon us, along with a tag-team of professional signers, complete with their ‘jazz hands’ to emulate applause. Judy Potter, AF Chair, read out lists of patrons and sponsors and introduced the Premier of SA, who (wonder of wonders) gave a short and entertaining speech before introducing the Big Reveallers, Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy.
The programme can be got at by popping this into your search engine: https://www.adelaidefestival.com.au/media/4425/af20-booking-guide.pdf
One coup this time around is the collaboration with Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, which will give us their (Romeo Castellucci’s) version of Mozart’s Requiem.
There will be 3 ballets interpreting Beethoven’s Trois Grandes Fugues, and if you can bear hearing that 3 times in a row, you’re set.
There will a round robin of four major song companies performing 150 Psalms in various spiritual and secular venues around town. Cold Blood by Thomas Gunzig appears to be an intriguing if macabre exercise in finger puppetry, and The Doctor, starring Juliet Stevenson, also carries a certain cachet – based on Professor Bernhardi (1912) by Arthur Schnitzler, it concerns ethical dilemmas and a clash between Church and Science. The dreaded ‘topical issues’ piece is further alarmingly ‘woke’ in that men play women, women play men, blacks play whites and vice versa – why it’s like Shakespeare in the good old days! Nevertheless, the presence of Stevenson (Drowning by Numbers) will enhance its audience.
There will be an opera based on Breaking the Waves (sounds fun), a 9-hour version of The Iliad, Fire Gardens, installations, and an opening night in Elder Park headlining Tim Minchin. The Directors have assembled an interesting meld of the daring and popular, so we can expect the patrons to get their $3.4 m back in due course…