Barrie Kosky will return to Adelaide with Saul George Frideric Handel’s highly acclaimed opera to headline the 2017 Adelaide Festival.
Having only premiered in 2015 at the Glyndebourne Festival, Saul is an exploration of the biblical stories of the King of Israel, his successor David, and the epic confrontation of David and Goliath in vivid gothic detail. Kosky, who directed Adelaide Festival in 1996, is returning to Adelaide from Berlin for this Australian exclusive and said in a release he is “looking forward to a few warm, balmy nights on the Torrens at my favourite Arts Festival in the world.” “I am thrilled after 21 years to be coming back to the Adelaide Festival with an opera production that means so much to me,” said the renowned director. As Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield’s first year as co-directors of the Adelaide Festival, the choice of an 18th century opera as its centrepiece could indicate the tenor of the festival overall, as they follow David Sefton’s reign. Sefton’s time as director saw an emphasis on contemporary works and a broadening of Adelaide Festival’s audience. “Kosky’s virtuosic stagecraft, rich imaginative world and subversive humour is perfectly matched with Handel’s magnificent oratorio,” said Armfield and Healy. “Sitting in the Glyndebourne Festival audience in August 2015 it could not have been clearer that we were witnessing an artist at the peak of his powers.” Saul will blend a unique mix of local and international talent in its Adelaide season, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra set to provide the score, conducted by Erin Heylard, the newly appointed Artistic Director of Sydney’s renowned Pinchgut Opera. A glittering set of opera luminaries will accompany the orchestras with England’s Christopher Purves (who performed in Saul’s premiere season) and Mary Bevan, the US’ Christopher Lowrey and Australians Adrian Strooper and Taryn Fiebig taking on major roles. Armfield and Healy said they are “immensely pleased that the 2017 Adelaide Festival will provide the platform for audiences to see international performing arts of this standard of achievement.” “That Barrie has a special connection to the Adelaide Festival is a delightful bonus.” Saul 3, 5, 7, 9 March 2017 Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre adelaidefestival.com.au