Adelaide Festival announces UK opera ‘SAUL’ as their 2017 centrepiece show

SAUL_Glyndebourne,Director; Barrie Kosky,Saul; Christopher Purves,David; Iestyn Davies,Merab; Lucy Crowe,Michal; Sophie Bevan,Jonathan; Paul Appleby,High Priest; Benjamin Hulett,Witch of Endor; John Graham_Hall,

Directed by the award winning and Australian born Barrie Kosky, the vivid opera SAUL will be the 2017 Adelaide Festival centrepiece show. Kosky, an ex-Adelaide Festival director (1996) will be bringing his five-star rated, thrilling and drama filled opera to the Adelaide Festival for only four shows.

Co Artistic directors, Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield made the announcement and predicted the show would spark a lot of local, interstate and international interest. SA’s Minister for the Arts, the Hon Jack Snelling said he was excited to see what else the pair would include for the 2017 festival and supported their choice of the headline show.


With three acts, Saul, taken from the Old Testament book of Samuel, tells the story of the first king of Israel and his relationship with David, the boy who defeated the giant Goliath. Their friendship turns from respect and appreciation to hatred and jealously, leading to the monarch’s downfall and David’s succession to the throne in this emotional and powerful show.

German born George Frideric Handel composed the opera in 1738 and during that time, dramas based on biblical stories could not be acted on stage. Saul, and Handel’s other works including Esther were therefore originally presented in concert form as an Oratorio. An oratorio is similar to opera with the orchestra, soloists and a choir, but is not musical theatre.


The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conducted by rising star Erin Helyward will accompany the show, which will star the incredible Christopher Purves in the title role of Saul from the opera’s original Glyndebourne Festival season.

Tickets are on sale from Friday 19 August.

The 2017 Adelaide Festival will run from 3-19 March. To find out more about the Adelaide Festival click here.

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