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Adelaide Festival

Adelaide Festival announces 2023 operatic centrepiece

Adelaide Festival

Around 200 performers, including 36 dancers from Switzerland’s largest professional ballet company, will feature in the 2023 Adelaide Festival centrepiece: choreographer Christian Spuck’s epic production of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem.

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In announcing the first highlight of next year’s program, the Festival said the production thrusts Giuseppe Verdi’s stirring score ­(first performed in a church in Milan in 1874) into a new orbit, with “a huge mass of humanity conjuring all the emotions we universally associate with death and hope for redemption”.

Spuck, artistic director of Ballett Zürich in Switzerland, premiered his take on the memorial mass in 2016. Critics lauded the compelling staging, choreography and performances, with one review saying  the final curtain call “almost burst at the seams with the host of dancers, soloists, choir, designers and stage support”.

For Messa da Requiem’s exclusive season at the Festival Theatre from March 8-11, it will be performed by 36 dancers from Ballett Zürich, around 75 members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the 80-strong Adelaide Festival Chorus, and four soloists: tenor Paul O’Neill, soprano Eleanor Lyons, mezzo soprano Caitlin Hulcup and bass Pelham Andrews.

The production ­– which was originally programmed for the 2021 and 2022 Adelaide Festivals but had to be postponed due to the pandemic – will be led by German-born conductor Johannes Fritzsch, artistic adviser and principal conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Adelaide Festival’s new artistic director Ruth Mackenzie, who has taken over the reins from outgoing ADs Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy, said the pair had “worked tirelessly” to bring Messa da Requiem to Adelaide and she was thrilled to announce it as the centrepiece of the 2023 Adelaide Festival.

“Together with Ballett Zürich, we are excited to share the experience with over 120 local singers and musicians from Adelaide who will be on stage at the Adelaide Festival Theatre over four performances.”

Pre-sale tickets (for Adelaide Festival Friends) will be available from 2pm today, with general public tickets on sale from September 8.

The full 2023 Adelaide Festival program will be launched on November 9.

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