Highlights include five-star ballet and opera, Adelaide Guitar Festival and international pianists Paul Lewis and Simon Trpčeski.

The Adelaide Festival Centre has unveiled its 2018 programme, revealing a wide array of events ranging from musicals to festivals, with a host of assorted shows and performances in between that includes prominent international guitarists, pianists and vocalists.

First on the list of 2018 highlights is the Adelaide Guitar Festival in August, curated by Slava Grigoryan. This event will bring to Adelaide such international guitarists as Tommy Emmanuel, Vladimir Gorbach, and Martha Masters, most notably in the Guitar Festival Symphony Gala concert.

Slava Grigoryan

“We’re very excited to be collaborating with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra once again in 2018,” Grigoryan told Limelight. “This concert will feature the Beijing Guitar Duo, one of the most incredible guitar ensembles on the planet! They will be performing Rodrigo’s Madrigal Concerto for two guitars and orchestra, an epic masterpiece that travels through a myriad of Spanish idioms in ten succinct movements, showcasing the full range of dazzling colour and passion that audiences associate with Spanish music.”

This programme will not focus solely on Spanish music, however. “We’re also very proud to be presenting a world premiere by an exciting Australian composer who has been based in Berlin for many years: Cathy Milliken,” Grigoryan said. “She’s a founding member of the Ensemble Modern and is establishing herself internationally as composer of great importance. Her work will be a song cycle for voice, guitar and orchestra, featuring soprano Jessica Aszodi and guitarist Vladimir Gorbach, who will be making their guitar festival debuts.”

Another debut at the festival is the first Australian appearance of American guitarist Martha Masters, who will present a double-bill recital with Gorbach in the Space Theatre.

Pianist Paul Lewis. Photo © Josep Molina/Harmonia Mundi

This intimate enclave is also the home venue of the Morgans International Piano Series, which, across the year, will offer recitals from several highly-acclaimed pianists. In July, Macedonian virtuoso Simon Trpčeski presents a programme of lyrical 19th-century works, while in September, English concert artist Paul Lewis will perform the Germanic repertoire he’s renowned for: Haydn, Brahms and Beethoven. London-based Australian pianist Piers Lane will take the stage in October for a varied programme comprising works from Scarlatti to Chopin and Rachmaninov.

In association with the State Opera of South Australia, the AFC will also play host to a string of eminent vocalists. At the start of December, Australian soprano Greta Bradman will lead the stage in Graeme Murphy’s five-star production of Franz Lehár’s operetta The Merry Widow, which has been reimagined in the setting of 1920s Paris. On its Perth premiere in July this year, with Taryn Fiebig in the title role, Limelight noted that this dance-infused show’s every act “was a party fizzing with romance and comedy.”

Sumi Jo

In July, Korean coloratura soprano Sumi Jo will sing in Adelaide for the first time, joined by Sydney-based baritone José Carbó in an evening of operatic love songs, canzoni, tangos, and Korean folk music.

July will also see The Australian Ballet bring another well-reviewed production to the Festival Centre: David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty, which Limelight hailed as “truly sublime” after its Sydney run at the end of 2015.

Next year will also see the return of both the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the OzAsia Festival as well as a new French festival encompassing everything from food and fashion to cinema and music. The AFC’s musical theatre offerings will include The Rocky Horror Show, American Idiot, The Wizard of Oz, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mamma Mia! and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

The Adelaide Festival Centre has been undergoing redevelopment works since 2016, but parts of it will reopen in time for the 2018 season, including the Festival Theatre itself, which has been closed for the last few months. A refurbished foyer, new restaurants and a Walk of Fame are also scheduled to be revealed, bringing new surrounds to AFC’s new season.

“2018 is our biggest season yet,” says Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier. “We are so delighted to work with so many talented South Australian and national performing arts companies as we reopen the Festival Theatre with a packed programme.”

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