The Manchester International Festival announced the first details of their 2011 programme this morning via The Guardian. Three shows have been announced so far and feature a stellar list of performers including Antony Hegarty, Willem Dafoe, Victoria Wood, Marina Abramovich, the Halle Orchestra and more.

The Festival runs from the 30th June-17th July 2011 and you can find more information HERE

Here are the details;

The Life and Death of Marina Abramović (9th-16th July @ The Lowry)

Manchester International Festival and Teatro Real Madrid present the world premiere of a startling new piece for the stage: The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, a biography of the godmother of performance art, re-imagined by visionary director Robert Wilson.

The show features scenes from Abramović’s life and career, from her Serbian childhood to her work as a performance artist. Featuring original and traditional music, including songs written and performed by the incomparable Antony (Antony & The Johnsons), this ground-breaking show brings together the worlds of theatre, art and music to thrilling effect.

The Life and Death of Marina Abramović is a once in a generation cultural event, starring Marina Abramović, Willem Dafoe and an international cast of actors and performance artists.

This is the first Robert Wilson production to be seen in the UK since The Temptation of St. Anthony in 2005.

We are pleased to welcome Robert Wilson to the Festival for his first UK show in five years, and to bring Marina and Antony back to Manchester following their appearances here in 2009. ‘The Life and Death of Marina Abramović’ is a good expression of what MIF was created for – new work made by some of the world’s leading artists.’ Alex Poots, Festival Director

The opera art form needs to develop new ways forward for the future. This could mean, of course, new composers but also projects developed by great visual artists, actors or singers who do not necessarily need to be opera singers. For sure, Antony, for example, brings a lyricism that in conjunction with Bob Wilson and Marina Abramović will make this production a real opera, just as Monteverdi would have loved.Gerard Mortier, Artistic Director, Teatro Real Madrid

Victoria Wood – The Day We Sang (6th-16th July @ The Opera House)

Victoria Wood, one of the UK’s best-loved writers and performers, creates a new theatre piece for Manchester International Festival.

That Day We Sang is the story of some of the children who sang on the famous recording of ‘Nymphs and Shepherds’ by the Manchester Children’s Choir. The piece takes as its starting point a television documentary being made 45 years after the event, triggering memories of the day itself and the years inbetween. It’s about the joy of singing, the power of music to evoke emotion, and being middle aged. 

The four people taking part in the documentary re-connect with their child selves as they piece together their memories of that day in the Free Trade Hall in 1929.

The piece will reconstruct the recording of the famous 78 of Purcell’s ‘Nymphs and Shepherds’ and will feature a choir specially formed for the show by Manchester International Festival’s creative learning programme MIF Creative, working in partnership with schools in North Manchester. This new choir celebrates the spirit of the original Manchester Children’s Choir which was formed under the director of the Hallé’s then musical director, Sir Hamilton Harty, to work with children who had little or no formal music training, ‘to carry on the musical traditions of the city’.

Victoria Wood is a local hero; it feels entirely appropriate to be welcoming her to the Festival to write and direct this new show. We are looking forward to working with Victoria and schools across North Manchester to revisit this remarkable episode from the city’s musical history. 
Alex Poots, Festival Director

Wagner: Die Walküre + The Madness of an Extraordinary Plan (15th – 16th July @ The Bridgewater Hall)

Following their 2009 presentation of Götterdämmerung, which ended with a 15 minute standing ovation, Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé return to Wagner’s Ring Cycle with a concert version of Die Walküre. This most enduring of operas will be performed over two nights at The Bridgewater Hall, which has arguably the UK’s finest orchestral acoustic.

MIF have commissioned Gerard McBurney to create The Madness of an Extraordinary Plan, a new dramatic prologue to Die Walküre. Sir Mark Elder leads the Hallé and three actors in a guide to Richard Wagner’s revolutionary reinvention of the musical language of opera. This will be an illuminating experience for Wagner afficionados and newcomers alike. Directed by Neil Bartlett.

We are delighted to be working with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé as they embark on the next part of their Ring Cycle at The Bridgewater Hall. The supporting prologue gives the Festival the opportunity to continue the project we began with The Pianist in 2007 and followed with JS Bach / Zaha Hadid Architects in 2009 – creating new contexts for great works of the past. Alex Poots, Festival Director

Die Walküre is sung in German with English surtitles.

Fri 15 July, 7.30pm The Madness of an Extraordinary Plan + Act 1 (20 min interval)
Sat 16 July, 3.30pm Act 2 + Act 3 (75 min interval)


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