The 2012 Adelaide Festival – punctuated by critical acclaim and standing ovations – drew to a close on Sunday 18 March, marking the end of the Paul Grabowsky’s tenure as Artistic Director and the last of the Festival as a biennial event.
With 65 sold out performances, the 2012 Festival – acknowledged as one of the best programs in many years – reached the $2.6 million box office target before opening night. Over the following 17 days, the Festival achieved a total box office income in excess of $3 million across 53 ticketed events. Whilst official attendances for all 68 events are still being collated, it is anticipated the Festival attendances will exceed 245,000.
The Festival opened on Friday 2 March, with the spectacular outdoor concert led by legendary Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. Attended by over 5000 people, the Maestro and company received three rapturous standing ovations, and such was the Maestro’s pleasure he expressed his desire to return to perform again in Adelaide.
Other music highlights and sold out performances included Leonard Bernstein’s masterpiece Mass (USA/Australia), featuring American baritone Jubilant Sykes and a company of 200 performers and musicians under the baton of Estonian/American maestro Kristjan Järvi; the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (GER), the Hilliard Ensemble (UK) and the Australian Art Orchestra’s Miles Davis Prince of Darkness.
The contemporary music program Dreamers also featured many sold out concerts from Ariel Pink (USA), Charles Bradley(USA), Michael Rother (GER), Roky Erickson (USA) and closing out the program Jane Birkin (France), at the purpose built outdoor Festival Club Barrio. Adelaide Festival’s late night club yet again surprised and delighted festival-goers. With a different theme each night, the club blurred the lines of reality and entertainment, attracting capacity crowds and queues around the block.
There were many highlights in the theatre program, including French screen legend Isabelle Huppert in A Streetcar(France/Poland), in a marathon performance described by The Australian as “exhilarating”; French physical performer James Thieree’s Raoul was the talk of the town with sold out performances; Tony Award-winning Jonathan Pryce (UK) wowed the crowd with an extended season of The Caretaker; local companies Windmill with School Dance and The Border Project’s I am not an Animal sold out before the Festival opened and the “exploration of evil” in Hard to be a God (Hungary) challenged and provoked Festival audiences.
The new look Adelaide Writers’ Week under the direction of Laura Kroetsch presented some of the world’s great writers and thinkers to near-capacity attendances at 90 sessions across the week-long program.
Outgoing Artistic Director Paul Grabowsky said, “I am thrilled we have delivered such a successful festival and one that has inspired and challenged audiences with such a diverse program. It is particularly pleasing to end my tenure on such a high note. I want to thank all of the artists, staff, sponsors and government partners for their contribution to a fantastic event. And particularly Kate Gould who assembled a fantastic Festival team and who has been a joy to work with over the last four years”
Festival Director for 2013-15, David Sefton said, “Paul and the team delivered an excellent program this year. I see the festival going annual as a real opportunity for Adelaide and I’m thrilled to be taking on the role at such an exciting time.”
John Hill Minister for the Arts said, “It’s fantastic that 626 South Australian artists and community groups were involved in Adelaide Festival alongside 386 artists from interstate and 320 artists from overseas. Adelaide Festival is a truly international event. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank outgoing Artistic Director Paul Grabowsky and also CEO & Associate Artistic Director Kate Gould for her outstanding ten-year contribution to the Festival, and to welcome David Sefton as the Artistic Director for 2013, 2014 and 2015.”
Adelaide Festival Notes & Facts
The 2012 Festival featured:
• 68 events, 14 exclusive to Adelaide
• 386 performances
• 37 world premieres – 3 from the performance program and 34 from the Visual Arts program
• 62 Australian premieres – 19 from the performance program and 43 from the Visual Arts program
• Nine theatre, five dance, 29 music and four film events, alongside Adelaide Writers’ Week, Adelaide International, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art and Deadly – an exhibition involving eight Australian first nation artists
• 1332 artists – 320 international and 1012 Australian (626 South Australia and 386 interstate) Performing and visual artists came from France, China, Taiwan, Korea, Italy, Belgium, Hungry, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, India, Sweden, Greece, Iran, Canada, Hungary, USA, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
Launched in 1960, the Adelaide Festival has created a tradition of innovation and excellence and always challenging audiences with a diverse range of work.
The longest running Australian literary festival Adelaide Writers' Week ran from Saturday, March 3 to Friday, March 9 and featured over 80 writers in 90 sessions.
The Caretaker season at Her Majesty’s Theatre continues until Friday 23rd March 2012.
Adelaide International, this year titled Restless, exhibited the work of 18 international visual artists in five of Adelaide’s contemporary art spaces, continues to until Thursday 5 April 2012.
Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art 2012 – this year titled Parallel Collisions, exhibited 21 commissioned works by some of Australia’s leading artists at the Art Gallery of South Australia, continues until Sunday 29 April 2012.
For further information, visit the Adelaide Festival website at adelaidefestival.com.au
Photo Credit: The Caretaker, Shane Reid, running until Friday 23 March.