The program for the 2009 Melbourne International Arts Festival has hit the streets and immediately set itself apart from the programs of the last Artistic Director.
Brett Sheehy is the new Artistic Director following on from stints as festival director in Sydney and Adelaide. His first Melbourne festival has all the hallmarks of a nicely rounded, if perhaps somewhat "safe", contemporary festival.
The London Philharmonic will play two concerts from the heart of the orchestral repertoire and the local symphony orchestra also features. The theatre and and dance components seem, however, curiously dominated by performers from Germany. Sasha Waltz and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg are the headline acts with the latter performing Sebastian Nuebling's production of Simon Stephens' play Pornography. It does seem a little curious to invite a German company to perform a contemporary English play in Australia in German! It is a pity there will not be an opportunity to see some of the work of Germany's young writers in Melbourne. Even some Georg Büchner or Heiner Müller (both in the repertoire in Hamburg) might do more for the expansion of the horizons of Melbourne audiences than a British play in German.
© Brian Long 2009