Mighty Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val

Artists join forces to present a Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val for the ages. By Jenny Burns

Where Melbourne - - Contents - For more in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets visit fes­ti­val.mel­bourne/2017

ORGANISERS OF THIS year’s Mel­bourne Fes­ti­val are promis­ing an am­bi­tious, au­da­cious pro­gram fea­tur­ing iconic and spec­tac­u­lar in­ter­na­tional and local artists and shows.

The fes­ti­val, on from 4 to 22 Oc­to­ber, fea­tures more than 65 events cov­er­ing dance, the­atre, con­tem­po­rary and clas­si­cal mu­sic and vis­ual arts.

“We have searched the world for the most coura­geous, vi­sion­ary and am­bi­tious artists who are ac­tively tak­ing on the big­gest sub­jects with flair, ex­cite­ment and drive,” ex­plained artis­tic di­rec­tor Jonathan Hol­loway. “We have drawn to­gether as many of them as pos­si­ble to cre­ate a block­buster that at­tempts to re­mind us all what hu­mankind is ca­pa­ble of. “Nowhere else in the world could you see mon­u­men­tal or sem­i­nal works like “Tree of Codes”, “A 24-Decade His­tory of Pop­u­lar Mu­sic”, “Un­der Siege”, “The Mag­netic Fields’ 50 Song Me­moir” and “Bang­sokol” un­der the same ban­ner and in the same three weeks, but that is what makes Mel­bourne as­ton­ish­ing. “This year’s fes­ti­val is the re­sult of col­lab­o­ra­tion with­out com­pro­mise, of great peo­ple bring­ing out and am­pli­fy­ing the best in other great peo­ple.” “Tree of Codes” is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween chore­og­ra­pher Wayne Mc­gre­gor, vis­ual artist Ola­fur Elias­son, mu­si­cian Jamie xx and the Paris Opera Bal­let. It’s de­scribed as a col­li­sion of con­tem­po­rary bal­let, vis­ual art and elec­tronic mu­sic. Per­for­mance artist Tay­lor Mac is pre­sent­ing “A 24-Decade His­tory of Pop­u­lar Mu­sic”, a decade-by-decade walk through Amer­ica from 1776 to 2016, told through the songs of the time, rein­ter­preted through ‘a rad­i­cal queer lens’, and told from the per­spec­tive of groups whose sto­ries are of­ten for­got­ten, dis­missed or buried. Renowned chore­og­ra­pher and dancer Yang Lip­ing is pre­sent­ing “Un­der Siege”, a tale known in Chi­nese opera and lore as “Farewell My Con­cu­bine”, with a mix of per­form­ers from bal­let, hip-hop, kung-fu and Pek­ing opera. Stephin Mer­ritt, the mind behind Amer­i­can in­die pop band The Mag­netic Fields, has cre­ated a new set to cel­e­brate his 50th birth­day—a song for each year of his ex­is­tence. He’s singing each of the 50 songs. “A Re­quiem for Cam­bo­dia: Bang­sokol” is a new work span­ning song, film, dance and voice and is the first or­ches­tral per­for­mance that ad­dresses the trau­mas that

oc­curred in Cam­bo­dia. It marks a first-time col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Os­car-nom­i­nated film di­rec­tor Rithy Panh and lauded com­poser Him So­phy—both sur­vivors of the Kh­mer Rouge and now at the fore­front of Cam­bo­dia’s cul­tural re­nais­sance.

Dan­ish chore­og­ra­pher and dancer Mette Ing­vart­sen’s “7 Plea­sures” in­ves­ti­gates the seven roles of plea­sure and ex­plores how per­cep­tions of nu­dity and sex­u­al­ity have changed over time. Twelve dancers—wear­ing nothing but what na­ture gave them—join to form a sin­gle or­gan­ism of ec­static flesh, the dis­tinc­tion be­tween bod­ies loses its cer­tainty, and a jour­ney in search of a plea­sure be­yond one’s own skin be­gins.

Tom Waits’ “Black Rider: The Cast­ing of the Magic Bul­lets” is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Vic­to­rian Opera, Malt­house The­atre, Meow Meow, Paul Cap­sis, Le Gateau Cho­co­lat and Ka­nen Breen. The show is a jour­ney through a vivid the­atri­cal land­scape that is part gothic, part opera, and all “dance with the devil”.

French artists Halory Go­erger and An­toine De­foort (from L’am­i­cale De Pro­duc­tion) are turn­ing the the­ory of evo­lu­tion on its head with one of the most talked-about works of con­tem­po­rary in­ter­na­tional the­atre, “Ger­mi­nal”. It asks: what if you had to make ev­ery­thing that ever ex­isted and you only had an hour—how would you do it?

The fes­ti­val opens Wed­nes­day 4 Oc­to­ber with “Tan­der­rum” —part open­ing cer­e­mony and part Wel­come to Country. “We Love Arabs” is a satir­i­cal dance/the­atre piece from Is­rael while Ter­rence Mal­ick’s film “Voy­age of Time” is nar­rated by Cate Blanchett and fea­tures the Mel­bourne Sym­phony Orches­tra per­form­ing a live score. “The Season” is an In­dige­nous com­edy by writer and per­former Nathan May­nard, “Please, Con­tinue (Ham­let)” is a homi­cide trial with real bar­ris­ters, judge and court psy­chol­o­gist while “EVER” is a new work from Phillip Adams Bal­let­lab. Mu­si­cal high­lights in­clude Grammy-nom­i­nated Amer­i­can so­prano Brenda Rae and Dutch pi­anist Joep Bev­ing, who came to fame after 85 mil­lion peo­ple watched his mu­sic on Spo­tify.

Tay­lor Mac. Photo: Teddy Wolff.

“Tree of Codes”. Photo: Ravi Deep­res.

“Tan­der­rum”. Photo: James Henry.

“Un­der Siege”. Photo: Ding Yi Jie.

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