Monday April 6, 2020
REQUIEM - ADELAIDE FESTIVAL 2020
Review

REQUIEM - ADELAIDE FESTIVAL 2020

By Diana Simmonds
February 29 2020

REQUIEM, Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, 28 February-4 March 2020. Photography supplied by Adelaide Festival

The Rachel Healy-Neil Armfield Adelaide festivals have each opened with an operatic bang (2019: Barrie Kosky’s Magic Flute, 2018: Armfield’s Glyndebourne Hamlet, 2017: Kosky’s Saul) and 2020 is no exception. From the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence last northern summer to Adelaide in this blighted southern summer comes Romeo Castellucci’s theatrical staging of Mozart’s last work – Requiem.

It begins with snatches of TV current affairs as a woman stands alone on the vast black-walled stage of the Festival Theatre in a “room” of space where there are just a single bed, a TV and a small table. She is clad in a nondescript white shift and is smoking a cigarette. Off-stage a disembodied voice sings about Christ being obedient unto death and exalted by God (the surtitles reveal this) in plainchant credited to Anon.

She moves slowly and climbs into the austere bed, beneath a dark blanket. She smooths the white sheet across her torso, lies back to rest her head on a white pillow; and almost imperceptibly disappears. This hypnotic coup de théâtre occurs while the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and male voices, under conductor Rory Macdonald, enter the aural landscape with Mozart’s K 477B – “he filled me with bitterness” – because, of course, the Requiem was unfinished when the composer died.

The problems presented by the incomplete work are taken care of in this way: more Mozart – listed in the program – and a lot of theatre, dance, colour, and movement. Castellucci is writer, director and designer of the piece with collaborators, Silvia Costa (costumes), dramaturg Piersandra di Matteo, choreographer Evelin Facchini and, in Adelaide, revival director Josie Dexter.

REQUIEM - ADELAIDE FESTIVAL 2020

On stage are acclaimed soloists Sara Mingardo (alto), Martin Mitterrutzner (tenor), David Greco (bass), Australia’s Siobhan Stagg (soprano) and an astonishingly assured boy treble Luca Shin. A dance troupe, including members of Australian Dance Theatre, and the Adelaide Festival Chorus under chorus master Brett Weymark complete the visual and musical spectacle.

Requiem is a curious beast however as the sublime music is at times almost buried and made secondary to the imaginative extravaganza with chorus and dancers variously clad in Euro-folk outfits of frilly white with floral headwear, picturesque prancing-simple old-world circle dances – including a May pole – and much spraying of Hindu-Holi vividly-coloured powders.

As well as the human element – including stylised images of death and how it happens – on the back wall is projected, one by one, a rolling list of increasingly fanciful entries from a virtual Encyclopedia of Extinctions. It’s difficult not to become mesmerised by “Tricerotops” or “Denisovans” or “Etruscans” or whatever flashes up next. Then there are the surtitles, if you want to try to keep track of the Requiem itself, and a young girl to whom the adults are not kind in pouring unknown unguents over her head and also briefly hanging her on the back wall. And so on. Mozart himself would probably have adored it.

It’s very Festival: outrageous, brilliantly-imaginative, impossible without many co-producers and a lot of time and money, and thought-provoking in the extreme. The all-pervasive Extinctions – continuously flashing up – reveal a strong northern hemisphere bias. That’s not really surprising but eventually, it is somewhat irritating – particularly when the only nod to where we are is “Adelaide Palais de Danse”, “Her Majesty’s Theatre Sydney” and “Kangaroo Island” – which is not extinct but nevertheless, a point is being made.

REQUIEM - ADELAIDE FESTIVAL 2020

In the end, this Requiem comes to a close after 90 visually unforgettable minutes with another coup de théâtre as three young women from the chorus walk down-stage into a post-apocalyptic emptiness (tonnes of discarded earth, trees, and wreckage has previously happened) and place a baby on the floor before walking off. It’s so simple, yet astounding and unnerving: here’s hope and redemption? The beginning of new life. But meanwhile – oh good grief, will it cry? Will it crawl off the edge of the stage into the pit? Is mama watching from the wings?

And a final thought, amid the escalating whimsical trivia of Extinctions: could they not have found space for one lost Australian Aboriginal language? It’s one of many arguments left to discuss late into the evening. Here’s a list of known languages before Invasion…check it out below...

Abodja, Adinda, Adnyamathanha, Adyinuri, Aghu-Tharngala, Agwamin, Aji, Alawa, Algan(Wig-), Alngith, Alura, Alyawarre, Amangu, Ami, Amurrag, Anaiwan, Andajin, Andigiribinha, Angkamuthi, Anguthimri, Anindilyakwa, Anjingid, Antikirinya, Arabana, Aragawal, Arawari, Aridinngidhigh, Arngam, Arrernte, Awabakala, Ayabadhu, Ayerrerenge, Ba rangu, Ba:na, Ba:nggala, Baanbay-Ahnbi, Badimaya, Badjalang, Badjiri, Bagandji, Baganu, Balardung, Balgalu, Balmawi, Banambila, Bandjagali, Bandjin, Banjgaranj, Banyjimad, Baraban, Baradaybahrad, Baramangga, Baranbinja, Baraparapa, Bardi, Bardrdala, Barunggama, Batjala, Bayali, Bedaruwidj, Bemba, Berrkali, Biangil, Bibbulmann, Bidawal, Bidia, Bididji(Gugu-), Bidjara, Bigambul, Bilamandji, BilinBilin, Bin-gonginad, Binbinga, Bindal, Binggu, Binjarub, Birbai, Birdingal, Biri, Birladapa, Birniridjara, Bolali, Bouliboul, Brabirawilung, Brabralung, Braiakaulung, Bratauolung, Buan, Bugongidja, Bugula, Bujibada, Bujundji(Gugu-), Buluguda, Buluwandji, Bun wurrung, Bunara, Bundhamara Punthamara, Buneidja, Bungandidjk, Bunggura, Bunuba, Bural-bural, Buranadjinid, Burarra, Cabbee, Coastal Lamalama, Da:rdiwuy, Da:wa(Gugu-), Dadi-dadi, Dagoman, Daguda, Dainiguid, Dajoror, Damala, Dambu-gawumirr, Danganegald, Dangbon, Darambal, Dargudi, Daribelum, Darkinyung, Darmarmiri, Daungwurrung, Debidigh, Dhaapuyngu, Dhalla, Dhalwangu, Dhanggagali, Dhanggatti, Dharug, Dharumba, Dhawa, Dhayyi, Dhiyakuy, Dhuduroa, Dhurga, Ding-Ding, Diraila, Dirari, Diyari, Djabadja, Djabwurrung, Djadja wurrung, Djadjala, Djagaraga, Djagunda, Djalarguru, Djalgandi, Djamandja, Djambarrpuyngu, Djambarrpuyngu, Djandjandji, Djangun, Djapu, Djarawala, Djargudi, Djarn, Djarrwark, Djerag, Djeraridjal, Djerimanga, Djial, Djidjijamba, Djinang, Djinba, Djirin, Djiru, Djuban, Djulngai, Djungurdja, Do:dj, Dolpuyngu, Dudu, Dulua, Dungidjau, Dyeraid, Dyirbal, Dyirringany, Dyowei, Eastern Torres Strait, Eora, Gabalbaral, Gabin, Gadang, Gadyarawang, Gagadju, Galali, Galawlwan, Galibamu, Galpu, Galwa, Galwangug, Gamberra, Gambuwal, Gamilaraay, Ganalpuynguh, Ganganda, Ganggalida, Gangulul, Garama, Garandi, Garanggaba, Garanguru, Garanya, Garawa, Garendala, Garingba, Garmalanggad, Garuwali, Gawambaray, Gay-Gay, Gayiri, Geawegal, Geinyan, Giabal, Gidabal, Gidjingali, Gigi, Gilibal, Gingana, Giraiwurung, Girramay, Giya, Go:la, Gobadeindamirr, Goinbal, Going, Golpa, Gonani:n, Gonggandji, Gonin, Gonjmal, Gooniyandi, Goreng, Goreng goreng, Grawadungalung, Gudabal, Gudjala, Gudjalavia, Gudjandju, Gugada, Gugu Warra, Gugu Yalanji, Gugu-Badhun, Gugu-Dhayban, Gujambal, Gujangal, Gulin, Gulngay, Gulumali, Gulunggor-Gulungo, Guluwarin, Gumatj, Gumbainggirr, Gun-djeihmi, Gunardba, Gunavidji, Gundara, Gundidy, Gundudj, Gundungura, Gungabula, Gungadidji, Gungaragan, Gunggalenjad, Gunggarbara, Gunggari, Gunggariganhgg, Gunindiri, Gunjbarai, Gunya, Gupapuyngu, Guragone, Gurdu(-wanga), Gureendyi, Gurindji, Gurnuornu, Gurung, Gurungada, Guugu Yimithirr, Guurindyi, Guwa, Guwamu, Guwij, Guyangal, Gwandera, Gwijamil, Ia:d, Ibarga, Indjilinji, Inggarda, Iningai, Jaabugay, Jabirr jabirr, Jagalangu, Jalugal, Jalung (Gugu-), Jalunju(Gugu-), Jambina, Jaminjung, Jan(Gugu-), Janari, Janggondju, Janjango, Janju(Gugu-), Jardwadjali, Jaru, Jawa(Gugu-), Jawaraworgad, Jawi, Jawoyn, Ji:randali, Jiduwa, Jingilu, Jirgandji, Jiwarli, Jugaiwadha, Jukun, Jurruru, Juwula, Kala, Kalaku, Kalamaya, Kalkatungu, Kamu, Kanai, Kaniyang, Karajarri, Kariyarra, Kaurna, Kayardild, Kaytetye, Kija, Kiyajarra, Kokatha, Koko bera, Kolakngat, Ku-ring-gai, Kugu-Muminh, Kukatj, Kukatja, Kulin, Kunbarlang, Kune, Kunjen, Kunwinjku, Kurrama, Kurtantji, Kurtjar, Kuthant, Kuuku-Ya u, Kuwarra, Kuyani, Kwini, Ladamngid, Ladji-Ladji, Lama-Lamai, Lamami, Laragiya, Lardil, Lewurung, Linngithigh, Liyagalawumirr, Luritja, Luthigh, Mabuyag, Madarrpa, Madhi-madhi, Madngele, Madoidja, Magalranalmiri, Maia, Maidjara, Majuli, Malak Malak, Malara, Malarbardjuradj, Malardordo, Malkana, Malngin-Maialnga, Malyangapa, Mamangidigh, Mamu, Mamwura, Manatja, Mandandanji, Mandelpi, Mandjigai, Mangarayi, Mangarla, Mangeri, Manggalili, Mangu, Mangula, Manjiljarra, Manu, Manunguy, Mara, Maradanggimiri, Maramanindji, Marangu, Maranunggu, Mararba, Marawara, Maraway, Mardidjali, Margany, Margu, Marrakulu, Marrithiyel, Martuthunira, Martuwangka, Marulda, Marungun, Maung, Mawula, Mayali, Mayi-Kulan, Mayi-Kutuna, Mayi-Thakurti, Mayi-Yapi, Mbabaram, Mbambylmu, Mbara, Mbiywonn, Mbo aru, Meindangg, Meriam, Mian, Midhaga, Midjamba, Milamada, Miliwuru, Min-kin, Minang, Mini(Gugu-), Minjangbal, Miriwoong, Mirning, Miwa, Moil, Mpalityanh, Mudalga, Mudumui, Muluridji(Gugu-), Mulyara, Mun-narngo, Munumburru, Muralag, Murngin, Murrinh, Murumidja, Muruwari, Mutpurra, Nabarlgu, Nada (-jara) (-wanga), Nakkara, Nalawgiynhahlhaw, Nambuguja, Nangadadjara, Nanggumiri, Nangiblerbid, Nangorg, Narangga, Nargala, Nargalundju, Nari-nari, Narrinyari, Natanya, Nawo, Ndorndorin, Ndra ngidh, Ngaanyatjarra, Ngaatjatjara, Ngadhugudi, Ngadjuri, Ngagu, Ngajan, Ngaladu, Ngalakan, Ngalgbon, Ngalia, Ngaliwuru, Ngambaa, Ngamini, Ngandangarad, Ngandi, Ngandjar (Wig-), Ngangurugu, Ngarduk, Ngarigu, Ngarinyin, Ngarinyman, Ngarkat, Ngarla, Ngarluma, Ngaro, Ngatjumaya, Ngawait, Ngawun, Ngayawung, Ngayimil, Ngengenwurung, Ngewin, Nggerigudi, Ngindadj, Ngiyampaa, Ngkoth, Ngoera, Ngorbur, Ngu rand, Nguburindi, Ngugi, Ngumbarl, Ngunawal, Nguramola, Nguri, Ngurlu, Ngurlu, Nhanta, Nhuwala, Nimanburru, Njegudi, Njirma, Njunggal(Gugu-), Njuwadhai, Nordanimin, NorweilimilLemil, Ntrangith, Nuguna, Nundjulbi, Nungali, Nungara, Nunggubuyu, Nungulrulbuy, Nunugal, Nyagi-Nyagi, Nyamal, Nyangga, Nyangumarta, Nyawaygi, Nyikina, Nyininy, Nyiyaparli, Nyulnyul, Ogerliga, Oidbi, Olgol, Palyku, Payungu, Pinikura, Pintupi, Pitjantjatjara, Pitta-pitta, Portawulun, Pulinara, Purduna, Putijarra, Raggaja, Raijang, Ralwia, Ramindjari, Rarmul(Gugu-), Rembarrnga, Rereri, Ribh, Ringu-ringu, Rirratjingu, Ritharrngu, Takalak, Thaayorre, Thalanyji, Tharrkari, Thiin, Tiwi, Tjungundji, Ulaolinja, Ulwawadjana, Umbindhamu, Umbuigamu, Umpila, Ungawangadi, Unggumi, Unjadi, Urningangg, Waanyi, Wad:a, Wada wurrung, Wadi-Wadi, Wadi-wadi, Wadi(-wanga), Wadigali, Wadja, Wadjabangaid, Wadjingi:n, Wadyalang, Wagaman, Wagara (Gugu-), Wagelag, Wageman, Waiangara, Waidjinga, Wailywan, Wajarri, Wajuk, Wakaya, Wakirti, Wakka-wakka, Walajangarri, Walamangu-Walamangu, Walandja(Gugu-), Walangama, Walbanga, Walboram, Waldja(Gugu-), Walgal, Walgi, Walmajarri, Walmbaria, Walu, Walyan, Wampaya, Wandandian, Wangaypuwan, Wanggamala, Wanggamanha, Wangganguru, Wanggadyara, Wanggara, Wanggatha/Wangkatja, WanggumaraWangkumara, Wangurri, Wankan, Wanudjara, Wanyiwarlku, Wanyjirra, Wanyurr, Wardal, Wardaman, Wardandi, Wardibara, Wareidbug, Wargi, Warlmanpa, Warlpiri, Warndarang, Warnman, Warramiri, Warray, Warrgamay, Warriyangka, Warrumungu, Warrungu, Warrwa, Watjanti, Wawula, Waygur, Wemba, Wembria, Wengej, Widi, Widjabal, Widjandja, Widjilg, Wiilmana, Wik-Epa, Wik-Me anha, Wik-Mungkan, Wik-Ngathana, Wik-Ngathara, Wik-ompona, Wilawila, Wilingura, Wilyagali, Wilyali, Wilyara, Wimarangga, Wiradjuri, Wirangu, Wirdinya, Wiri, Wiriyaraay, Witukari, Wogait, Woljamidi, Wonganja, Wonggadjara, Wonnarua, Woralul-Uronlurl, Worgabunga, Worla(ja), Worrorra, Wotjobaluk, Wubulkarra, Wudhadhi, Wudjaari, Wulagi, Wulbudyibur, Wulguru, Wulwulam, Wunambal, Wunumarad, Wurangu, Wurangung, Wurungugu, Wuy wurrung, Yabula-Yabula, Yadymadhang, Yakara, Yalanga, Yanda, Yandruwantha, Yanga, Yangga, Yangkaal, Yangman, Yanhangu, Yankunytjatjara, Yanyuwa, Yaraldi, Yaraytyana, Yardliyawara, Yari-Yarit, Yarluyandi, Yawuru, Yaygirr, Yidiny, Yiiji, Yilba, Yilngali, Yiman, Yindjibarndi, Yinhawangka, Yinwan, Yir Yoron, Yirawirung, Yitha Yitha, Yiwayja, Yorta-yorta, Yu-yu, Yu-ngai, Yuat, Yubumbee, Yugambal, Yugul, Yuin, Yukulta, Yulparija, Yumu, Yunggor, Yuru, Yuwaalaraay, Yuwibara

(Source: Loss of Aboriginal languages - Creative Spirits, retrieved from https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/language/loss-of-aboriginal-languages)

 

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