Celebrating arts, culture, and creativity, Melbourne Festival returns 2017 with a program that proves they've earned their position as one of Australia's leading international arts festivals.
The festival kicks off with a Tanderrum - a meeting of the five clans of the Kulin nation - in an event that's part opening ceremony, part Welcome to Country. Tanderrum's ceremony is one of many cultural celebrations and documentations included in the 2017 program with other highlights including Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia, a symphonic work commemorating the traumas occurring in Cambodia in the 1970s as a result of the Khmer Rouge, and Under Siege, renowned choreographer and dancer Yang Liping's reimagining of the Chinese tale Farewell My Concubine.
Originality is key in Melbourne Festival's 2017 program and is showcased through productions such as the Australian premiere of Mette Ingvartsen's 7 Pleasures, which sees 12 dancers explore the seven roles of pleasure and changing perceptions of nudity and sexuality.
French artists Halory Goerger and Antoine Defoort also do their part for unique theatre productions with Germinal, seeking an answer to the question: if you had to make everything that ever existed in one hour, how would you do it?
The musical aspect of the festival is strong with a number of stand-out inclusions. Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music takes audiences on a musical journey through America from 1776 to 2016 while Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields) is sharing his 50 Song Memoir to celebrate his 50th birthday with a song for each year.
Nashville alt-country band Lambchop are also set to return to Australia for the first time since 2005 to perform for one night only as part of Melbourne Festival.
Combining dance and music is Tree of Codes, a result of collaboration between choreographer Wayne McGregor, visual artist Olafur Eliasson, musician Jamie xx, and the Paris Opera Ballet. It's sure to be a highlight and is a production for which Melbourne Festival Artistic Director, Johnathan Holloway, has nothing but praise.
"Tree of Codes is the perfect festival event: massively more than the sum of its parts, beautiful and uplifting, appealing to all audiences, and delivered with the energy that can only be released by the creative collision of incredible forces," said Holloway.
Other events to keep an eye out for include Please Continue, Hamlet (a homicide trial featuring actual barristers, a judge, and a jury consisting of audience members), The Score (transcribing sound into drawing), Aboriginal playwright Nathan Maynard's The Season (a story of family, country, and culture), and a performance from Joep Beving, whose self-released recordings streamed more than 85 million times.
Melbourne Festival runs from Wednesday October 4 to Sunday October 22. Find out more at their website.