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Tom Waits Musical to Debut at Music Filled Melbourne Festival in Australia

by Paul Cashmere, Noise11

The Melbourne Festival will host the Australian premiere of Tom Waits’ musical Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets in October.

Waits based the musical on Carl Maria von Weber’s 19th century opera Der Freischutz. Waits released the music as his 1993 album ‘The Black Rider’.

Black Rider will play at The Malthouse Theatre from October 15-19.

Melbourne Festival 2017 Highlights

The centrepiece of the Festival is A 24-Decade History of Popular Music from glittering New York performance artist Taylor Mac. This once-in-a-lifetime event is a decade-by-decade walk through America from 1776 to 2016, told through the songs of the time, reinterpreted through a radical queer lens, and told from the perspective of groups whose stories are often forgotten, dismissed, or buried. Part celebration, part exorcism, all party, this extravaganza will take its place as one of the most spectacular moments Melbourne has ever witnessed for four, six hour performances at Forum Theatre from 11 – 20 October.

Tree of Codes is an extraordinary event and collaboration between musician Jamie xx, visual artist Olafur Eliasson, choreographer Wayne McGregor and the Paris Opera Ballet. For six performances only in the State Theatre from 17 – 21 October, Tree of Codes is a collision of electronic music, contemporary ballet, visual art, launching itself from the springboard of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s enigmatic book-sculpture of the same name.

After decades earning applause as the mind behind the inimitable American indie pop band The Magnetic Fields, Stephin Merritt has created a brand new set to celebrate his 50th birthday – a song for each year of his melodious existence. Exclusive to Melbourne Festival, Hamer Hall will house this live kaleidoscopic journey on 21 & 22 October and will see him singing each song from his 50 Song Memoir, released to critical acclaim earlier this year.

Dutch amateur musician Joep Beving gave up his day job after his self-released recordings streamed online more than 85 million times. He first performed and recorded his “mood music” album, Solipsism for the enjoyment of his family before, ‘for fun’ making it available to stream online through Spotify. Composer, pianist and one-man recording phenomenon, Beving will make his Australian debut at the Melbourne Recital Centre for one night only on the 14 October.

Two trailblazing stars of the Australian music scene survey the forces that have shaped their way to bring Inbetween Two. TZU’s Joelistics and Sietta’s James Mangohig are icons of Australian hip-hop, but their family histories are as complex and layered as their lyrics. Two cultures, two generations and two charismatic wordsmiths mix it up at a singular event at Art Centre Melbourne’s Fairfax Theatre from the 11 – 15 October.

UK frontman Alexis Taylor, of electropop royalty Hot Chip, sets aside the synths for a sensitive and soulful session on the keys for four extremely intimate performances at Melbourne Recital Centre’s Salon on the 12 & 14 October. Taylor pares everything back to just piano and voice for an unadorned performance of new songs from his solo release Piano, reinterpretations of his own writing, and a selection of favourites both well-known and unheard before by other artists.

Chameleonic Nashville icons Lambchop might have earned their stripes in the 90s alt-country movement but the subsequent two decades have proven the band’s soul is that of a nomad, passing through post-rock, lounge, electronica and folk. Kurt Wagner, leader of this left-of-centre country-soul mini-orchestra are set to return to Australia for their first visit to the Melbourne since 2005, performing for one night only at the Melbourne Recital Centre on 18 October.

Melbourne based musician Ella Thompson has teamed up with fellow Victorian artists to make the ultimate all female, super-group with Clio Renner, Sui Zhen and visuals by Prue Stent and Sydney-based Honey Long. Thompson’s newest performance piece, Like Running Water will intertwine her distinctive sound with the classically oriented modes of contemporary composition. Known for her infectious pop vocals, dreamy, synth heavy melancholia and heaving rhythms, Ella will be performing in this powerful collaboration at the Melbourne Recital Centre on 20 October.

The Australian premiere of More Up a Tree will see Dirty Three drummer Jim White and Portuguese dancer Claudia De Serpa Soares (Sasha Waltz & Guests), housed within a giant mirrored glass box designed by American multi media artist Eve Sussman. Together they create a show that explores the relationship between artist and audience as drums and dance meet to present a spectacular story about art at Substation from 12 – 14 October.

Pianist Peter de Jager is a force of nature whose musical mind would adorn the cultural life of any city on the planet, bar none. His recitals are not just recitals: they are journeys into wild and wonderful terrain and this is an incredible opportunity to see him lead his audience into the miraculous world of Iannis Xenakis with Double Manual at the Melbourne Recital Centre on 17 October.

In an age of personal assistants hidden inside mobile phones, driverless cars and increasingly self-aware technology, No New Noise by the Australian Creative Music Ensemble asks the dangerous question: how long will it be until artificial intelligence replaces composers and musicians? Three composers, Joe O’Conner, Reuben Lewis and Alistair McLean respond to this provocative inquiry with new works for a powerhouse, improvising ensemble at The Substation on 6 October.

One of Australia’s leading contemporary music ensembles will give the world premiere performance of Diomira, a new work created by composer and Artistic Director of Australian Art Orchestra, Peter Knight. Sparked off by one of the imaginary lands in Italo Calvino’s novella Invisible Cities, Diomira is an expedition forging a path between the observable and the unreal as the chamber jazz orchestra expands with performance at the The Substation on 7 October.

A ride like not other, Victorian Opera and Malthouse Theatre team up with Meow Meow, Paul Capsis, Le Gateau Chocolat, and Kanen Breen for the Australian premiere of Black Rider: The Casting Of The Magic Bullets a delirious journey through a vivid theatrical landscape that is part gothic, part opera, and all dance with the devil. Based on the German folktale that inspired Carl Maria von Weber’s 19th century opera Der Freischutz, Cry-in-beer ballads meet a meditation on addiction, Black Rider is truly a tour-de-force that will be at Malthouse Theatre from 15 – 19 October.

Voyage of Time is the long-anticipated documentary three decades in the making and is as every bit epic as the name implies, Film director Terrence Malick leads us on a temporal trip through the history of the universe. After witnessing the birth of stars and the evolution of life on Earth, we pause to wonder at the sun and planets before plunging into the inky depths of the oceans, where incandescent creatures float in the darkness. Accompanied by a live score performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and featuring an evocative narrative recording by Cate Blanchett, the film brings a contemplative and speculative tone to the grandeur of its subject at Art Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on 6 October.

And to close the festival, leaving us in high spirits until the next, Our Place Our Home will be a celebration of diversity at MPavillion on 22 October. Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Visible Music Mentoring Program bring you performances from emerging musicians from Australia’s refugee and Indigenous backgrounds for this stunning musical creation such as Mojo Juju and the Pasifeka Vitoria Choir.

Melbourne Festival takes place from 4-22 October, 2017