Festival Theatre Celebrates 40 Years

Adelaide Festival TheatreThe Adelaide Festival Centre together with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will present a special anniversary concert – Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – as part of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s 40th Anniversary Events on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June, 8pm.

ASO Chief Conductor Arvo Volmer directs the concert which reprises the Festival Theatre’s grand opening night with a performance of Beethoven’s great Ninth Symphony – the Choral – featuring Soprano Sara Macliver, Mezzo Soprano Sally-Anne Russell, Tenor Paul McMahon and Bass Stephen Bennett together with the Adelaide Symphony Chorus.

Beethoven’s Ninth, with its powerful themes of freedom and universal brotherhood has, over many years, been associated with world changing events. In the last century, it was most famously conducted by Leonard Bernstein in 1989 to mark the demolition of the Berlin Wall. This is profound music which marks the pinnacle of Beethoven’s musical achievements as in this, his last symphony, the Ninth journeys from darkness to light reaching its climax in an astonishing and innovative finale. Here Beethoven, for the first time in the history of the symphony, introduces the human voice as massed choirs proclaim Friedrich von Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

Volmer says, “The last works of great masters are often considered as their ultimate message to generations to come. The Ninth carries a message of humanity and hope, mixing poetry and music in a totally new way. It represents Beethoven’s symphonic writing at its peak.

The concert will also include the World Premiere Fanfare Festiva – a fanfare for the next 40 years, commissioned by Adelaide Festival Centre for the concert, by renowned Adelaide composer, Graeme Koehne. 

Koehne who attended the 1973 performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (then named South Australian Symphony Orchestra) with his mother as a child  says “writing the fanfare is particularly meaningful, because that opening concert happened just when I was beginning to immerse myself in classical music, seeing the concert was instrumental in my  choice of career.  I remember hearing the fanfare composed by Richard Meale who later was to become my composition teacher”.

Festival Theatre 40th Anniversary Concert

31 May & 1 June @ 8pm, Festival Theatre

Since its opening in 1973, the Festival Theatre has been Adelaide’s preeminent venue for the world’s finest artists, while also providing a venue of international standard for countless performances, community events, and local companies. The Festival Theatre 40th Anniversary Concert is just one of the events programmed to celebrate the Centre’s 40 years of hosting arts, culture and entertainment from every corner of the world, other Anniversary Events include:

Anniversary Books Launch – FREE

Heart of the Arts: The Adelaide Festival Centre at 40
Written by Lance Campbell (author of By Popular Demand celebrating the first 25 years of Festival Centre) who explains how the Centre has captured the imaginations on and off the stage in the 21stCentury.

Her Majesty’s Pleasure: A Centenary Celebration for Adelaide’s Theatre of the Stars
Written by Frank van Straten (author of the history of Tivoli theatres) this unique book raises the curtain on the hidden history of Adelaide most remarkable Tivoli theatre.

30 May, Festival Centre Plaza

6.00pm – Commemorative Book Launch
6.30pm – House Lights Official Opening

6.45pm – Guided exhibition tours through the Festival Theatre Foyer

The books are being launched by Barry Humphries AO, CBE Australia’s stage legend,comedian, satirist, artist, and author. Humphries is best known for his on-stage and television alter egos Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.  Humphries says  “I am thrilled to launch the book, Her Majesty’s Pleasure celebrating 100 years of Her Majesty’s Theatre and detailing the rich and colourful history of this wonderful theatre which is so dear to my heart.

As Patron of the building fund that is raising money for the refurbishment of this important historical building I urge you to show your support and help us restore what was and still is one of Adelaide’s greatest cultural assets”.

House Lights – FREE

30 May – 30 June, Festival Centre Hajek Plaza – FREE
The distinctive white roof of Adelaide’s most iconic building will be illuminated by the artists from the internationally acclaimed Electric Canvas. The roof will become the canvas for a constantly changing palate of projections reflecting the spirit and essence of Adelaide Festival Centre’s 40 fabulous years.

Flicking the switch at 6.30pm on 30 May.

The Fezbah Returns

31 May – 1 June , Piano Bar – FREE 9pm till late

Through the ‘80s and ‘90s it was one of Adelaide’s most popular late night clubs where artists and audiences kicked up their heels on the dance floor to the vibrant sounds of South Australia’s best live bands. The late night Fezbah will be revised and reinvigorated to one big celebratory weekend. Friday night don’t miss Blues Brothers and Sister of Soul band and Saturday Clearway band take to the stage. DJ, Steve McNally and  pianist, Ian ‘Polly’ Polites will play across both nights.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Variety Gala Anniversary Concert

6 June, Festival Theatre

Toast the 40th Anniversary of the Festival Theatre at the opening of the 2013 Adelaide Cabaret Festival with some of the finest cabaret performers from around the world. Featuring highlights from International and local cabaret stars and backed by the Adelaide Art Orchestra.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier says, William Light, the founder of Adelaide, wished for it to be a city of culture. This is a fine aspiration, amongst others, that he bequeathed to this city and community. 

The continuing success of Adelaide Festival Centre is testament to our ongoing commitment to that legacy. It was the first capital city arts centre in this country and in the opinion of many it continues to be the most innovative.

I was on stage as part of the opening night performance in 1973 and since then the spirit and ethos of this place has been a source of inspiration to me and many others HERE and all over the world.  

For forty years it has been a site where consistently great performances and receptive audiences have come together. Come and help us celebrate that history and achievement by attending our Anniversary events.”


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