The summer is always a fertile time for the city’s arts and culture scene, helped in no small part by the annual Luminato festival, a 10-day event featuring theatre, dance, music, magic, literature, food, film and visual arts. This morning at the Sony Centre, in a room full of tastemakers and arts elite, key members of festival announced the 2012 lineup, with some impressive events scheduled to celebrate its sixth year.
“The reason I was attracted to Luminato was because, it’s not just a theatre festival or even a performing arts festival, but uniquely, a festival of creativity that celebrates every field where people are creative,” said newly appointed artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt, understandably proud of the fact that Luminato is among the most comprehensive, inclusive and prestigious arts festivals in North America, if not the world. From its 2007 founding by Tony Gagliano and the late David Pecaut, Luminato has grown year-by-year and the 2012 line up might be the most impressive yet.
This year’s festival runs from June 8-17 and tickets for events go onsale April 14. Here’s a glimpse of what to look forward to for this year’s festival:
THEATRE, OPERA AND DANCE
Einstein on the Beach, Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’ unconventional, five hour opera will make its Toronto debut and run from June 8–10.
Playing Cards 1: SPADES, Robert Lepage’s play currently showing in Quebec City, uses a deck of cards as a framework to explore war. It runs from June 13-17.
A contemporary adaptation of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon’s La Belle et la Bête makes its English language debut at Luminato and runs from June 8–12.
Marking the return of Tel Aviv’s Batsheva Dance Company (pictured above), Sadeh21 runs from June 14-16.
Concert pianist Stewart Goodyear will perform all 32 Beethoven sonatas in an epic 11-hour performance on June 9. He will be joined on stage by performance artist Melati Suryodarmo.
TSO Goes Late Night will feature a performance of Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on June 9.
A star-studded tribute to the late Canadian folk music legend Kate McGarrigle, called Love Over and Over, will take place on June 15 and feature performances by Emmylou Harris, Bruce Cockburn, Mary Margaret O’Hara, members of Broken Social Scene and Stars, and McGarrigle’s children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, among others.
This year Toronto-based architects Diamond Schmitt will be temporarily transforming David Pecaut Square into the Windscape (pictured above), which will hold free performances from, among others, K’Naan, Dan Mangan, Kathleen Edwards, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and groups of artists from the Caribbean, the horn of Africa, Tuscany, Germany, Cuba and elsewhere.
LITERARY AND TALKS
Throughout the course of the festival renowned Canadian and international writers will be previewing their latest works, including Richard Ford, Chris Cleave, Irvine Welsh, Peter Carey, Vincent Lam, Nicole Krauss and many more.
There will also be a separate program in partnership with The New Yorker on June 10, which will feature appearances from Alice Munro, and magazine staffers Deborah Treisman, Hilton Als, Adam Gopnik and Calvin Trillin. This will mark the first time hat The New Yorker has become a creative partner at a festival or event outside New York City.
A number of talks and panel discussions will accompany theatre, dance and music events, including interpretations from researchers from Waterloo’s renowned Perimeter Institute on the aforementioned performance of Einstein on the Beach and discussions between artists preceding the free concerts at David Pecaut Square.
With this year’s Luminato marking the bicentennial of the War of 1812 (a running theme throughout the 10-day event), artists Thom Sokoloski and Jenny-Anne McCowan will produce a large installation at Fork York called The Encampment (pictured above in Trinity Bellwoods at Nuit Blanche in 2006), which will be comprised of 200 temporary tents on the grounds.
Toronto-based collective Blue Republic will be making a multi-site installation based at Pearson Airport and around downtown, making a “multi-faceted, experiential narrative.”
A number well-known magicians will be taking part in this year’s festival including the mentalist Banachek, blind magician Richard Turner and Chilean magician Juan Esteban Varela, whose unique performance takes place in complete darkness.
Throughout the course of the festival there will be a number of films shown at the TIFF Bell Lightbox that will accompany other exhibits. These include Robert Lepage’s Le Confessional; Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts, a documentary on Philip Glass by Oscar-winning director Scott Hick; and Mark Obenhaus’ examination of the making of Einstein on the Beach.
On June 9 and 10, the Distillery District will host President’s Choice 1000 Tastes of Toronto, a street-food event that will highlight the city’s culinary diversity.