Adelaide Festival 2020 Programme

Published in Arts News  
L-R, Top-Bottom: Eight, Lyon Opera Ballet, 60th Birthday Concert, The Sound Of History L-R, Top-Bottom: Eight, Lyon Opera Ballet, 60th Birthday Concert, The Sound Of History

The 2020 Adelaide Festival features 74 events, 16 Australian premieres, and 7 world premieres.


Covering music, theatre, opera, dance, film, writing, and visual arts, the event also features festivals-within-the-festival: Adelaide Writers' Week, Chamber Landscapes at UKARIA and WOMADelaide all returning.

“This year we celebrate the Festival’s 60th anniversary and welcome the very best artists from around the world, across the country and from our own community,” South Australian Premier Steven Marshall says. “Our festival’s well-earned, worldwide reputation for delivering exceptional and memorable experiences for visitors, provides a valuable opportunity to showcase all our festive city offers.”

The free opening event of the festival will feature actor, songwriter, comedian and musician Tim Minchin.

'150 Psalms' is an all-encompassing event in the programme: 150 sacred songs, performed over four days in four sacred spaces.

Another special event set against an Adelaide landmark venue is 'Fire Gardens', a dazzling, glowing installation in the Adelaide Botanic Garden created by France's Compagnie Carabosse. Tunnels of fire and delicate sculptures that flicker and dance to an immersive soundtrack of live musicians.

'Breaking The Waves' tells a gut-wrenching story set in the haunting landscape of the Scottish highlands based on the controversial 1996 film by Lars von Trier with a score by American composer Missy Mazzoli.

Greek-Australian actor/director William Zappa uses traditional storytelling methods in a nine-hour marathon to bring Homer's 'greatest hits' of 800BC to the present in 'The Iliad – Out Loud', and audiences can experience one-on-one testimony from the streets of Aleppo in 'Aleppo. A Portrait Of Absence'.

In the realm of classical music, 'The Sound Of History: Beethoven, Napoleon And Revolution' is the Australian premiere of the collaboration between Brett Dean and Sir Christopher Clark, in a performance of examinations of Beethoven concertos as well as his Symphony No. 3.

FireGardens vincent muteau
'Fire Gardens' – Image © Vincent Muteau

Adelaide Town Hall will see concerts of Chopin, Beethoven and Prokofiev by American piano meister Garrick Ohlsson, courtesy of Musica Viva; Mahler's Fifth Symphony and Thomas Ades' 'Concentric Paths' performed by the violinist for whom it was written, Anthony Marwood, with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Launching into the now, contemporary music will be on full display with artists such as The Parov Stelar Band, Vince Jones & The Heavy Hitters, Lisa Gerrard & Paul Grabowsky, Joep Beving E^ST, Weyes Blood, The New Pornographers, Clare Bowditch, Didirri, and Kevin Morby.

WOMADelaide returns as well, the first line-up can be seen here.

The dance offering at Adelaide Festival features Lyon Opera Ballet with 'Trois Grandes Fugues', and in dramatic contrast 'Enter Achilles' by Ballet Rambert and DV8 Physical Theatre. 'Black Velvet', at the Odeon Theatre, features American Shamel Pitts and Brazilian Mirelle Martins, in a performance which combines Pitts' choreographic language with video mapping by Lucca del Carlo.

Adelaide Festival also embraces the world of visual arts. Eight is an interactive virtual reality installation by Michael van der Aa, 'virtually' starring Kate Miller-Heidke. The nation's longest-running curated survey of contemporary Australian art, the Adelaide Biennial, celebrates 30 years with the exhibition Monster Theatre, populated by duplicitous robots, toxic goddesses and impossible chimeras.

Writers Week's opening takes place in an exciting new venue, The Workshop, and features Nigera's Man Booker-shortlisted Chigozie Obioma, Pakistani journalist Sanam Maher and Tyson Yunkaporta. The Twilight Talks will make the Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden the place to be, and Kids Day and YA Day will both feature too.

Adelaide Festival runs from 28 February-15 March. Click here to check out the full programme.

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