The opening weekend of the Adelaide Festival is invariably one of Australia’s buzziest, most exciting artistic occasions; it certainly has been under the leadership of its current joint Artistic Directors Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy. This year – the Festival’s 60th anniversary – was no exception.

The two central opening productions were Romeo Castellucci’s staging of Mozart’s Requiem and the Almeida Theatre’s acclaimed production of The Doctor starring Juliet Stevenson. But there were more than 10 other events running over the course of the weekend with numerous more to follow. I saw five productions in two days, each of which was compelling in its own way.

Adelaide Festival
Requiem. Photograph © Tony Lewis

Armfield and Healy have programmed an operatic production as a centrepiece of each of their Festival programs: Barrie Kosky’s staging of Handel’s dramatic oratorio Saul in 2017, Brett Dean’s opera Hamlet in 2018, and Kosky’s production of The Magic Flute , created with English theatre company 1927 in 2019. This year, Castellucci’s Requiem , which premiered at last year’s Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, filled that spot, and proved a far more contentious choice. It was a fabulous festival piece –...