Featuring a sumptuous set and costumes, the dramatic work premiered at the 2015 Glyndebourne Festival in Sussex, Britain, and was presented at the 2017 Adelaide Festival in association with the State Opera, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Adelaide Festival Centre.
Saul cast members Christopher Purves and Kanen Breen both won Helpmann performance wards, for best male performer in an opera and best male performer in a supporting role, respectively, while Joachim Klein (lighting design) and Erin Helyard (music direction) won industry awards.
The Helpmann Awards – presented at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre – are the major awards of Australia’s live performance industry, with other big winners including satirical musical The Book of Mormon (best musical), Drover’s Wife (best play), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (best Australian contemporary concert) and Hannah Gadsby (best comedy performer).
Amber McMahon was named best female actor in a supporting role in a play for SA-based Windmill Theatre Company’s Girl Asleep, while another 2017 Adelaide Festival Show, The Encounter, took out the best sound design award.
Best Contemporary Music Festival nominee WOMADelaide lost out to Mona Foma, but one of its 2017 shows, Dancenorth and Lucy Guerin Inc’s Attractor, was named best dance production.
Other South Australian nominees included acrobatic ensemble Gravity and Other Myths’ Adelaide Festival show Backbone, Restless Dance Theatre’s acclaimed experiential work Intimate Space, and Patch Theatre Company’s The Moon’s a Balloon.
The full list of 2017 Helpmann Award winners can be found here.