Requiem @ Festival Theatre, Adelaide 28/2/2020

The consequence of a three-year collaborative effort between the Adelaide Festival and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence erupted onto the Adelaide Festival Theatre stage on 28 February 2020. The centrepiece of the 60th anniversary Adelaide Festival: Romeo Castellucci’s Mozart’s Requiem.

In December 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart yielded to illness at the age of thirty five leaving his last work, a funeral mass, unfinished. Belonging to the genre of sacrosanct music, Requiem is permeated with theatricality. Both elements are brought to life by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Festival Chorus and dancers from the Adelaide Dance Theatre in an aural and visual spectacular on the Festival Theatre stage.

The visionary Castellucci interprets Mozart’s haunted sentiments of his impending death in a contemporary fashion. He thrusts humanity’s anguish with its own pending extinction directly in the face of the audience. Bringing the themes of death and extinction into the here-and-now Castellucci successfully creates a relevant, thoughtful, modern masterpiece that will leave you awestruck.

The cast, led by Australian soprano Siobhan Stagg, Italian alto Sara Mingardo, Austrian tenor Martin Mitterrutzner and Australian bass David Greco and consisting of Chrissie Page (older woman), Jacinta Hriskin (young woman), Tim Edhouse, Iaon Gunn and Brian Godfry (older men), Chris Gun (young man) and Lisa and Piper Watts (mother and child), are supported by the Adelaide Festival Chorus. Together they fuse singing, dancing and theatre to create a holistic representation of finality that is both visually joyous and emotionally melancholy. Mietta Brookman (little girl) and treble Luca Shin are standouts, truly shining with their undeniable talent radiating from the stage.

The seemingly simple set, designed by Castellucci, is anything but. It repeatedly evolves over the ninety-minute extravaganza via the use of props, colour, texture and dimension working in harmony with the score, and juxtaposed with occasional yet impactful moments of silence, which progresses with increasing anguish through each musical movement to the frenetic extinction of the present.

Lead by Conductor Rory Macdonald, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra provide more than a soundtrack, they are the glue that binds all dimensions of the opera together to create a comprehensively breathtaking narrative.

Requiem is a thought-provoking piece of art that elevates Mozart’s final work to new heights. It is a truly extraordinary performance and a must-see of the 2020 Adelaide Festival.

Adelaide Festival Review By Anita Kertes

Tickets and show information from the Adelaide Festival

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