With the Fringe over the halfway mark, Melbourne really kicks into high festival gear with Friday night’s spectacular and free Opening Night celebration of the Melbourne International Arts Festival.
At 7pm on Friday, The Pealing of the Bells signals a new era for the Festival, as the bells of the city’s cathedrals, churches and schools peal in succession, reminding everyone to leave their after work drinks and join together for a three-part performance that claims to be the most glorious festival opening Melbourne has witnessed.
At 7.30pm, the much loved performance group Strange Fruit climb their five metre poles to sway among the Federation Bells for Ringing the Changes, a unique performance of a commissioned score by Graeme Leak.
Then at 9pm, just across the river at Alexandra Gardens, it’s time to look to the sky, as France’s Transe Express, an orchestra of bell ringers and percussionists, rises towards the heavens.
Mischievous Bells combines technology with the atmosphere of a carnival and pure, dazzling spectacle. Like a musical chandelier, a carillon will rise 130 feet into the air with musicians chiming out celestial sounds and trapeze artists adding an extra touch of daring.
If you are already booked into a show on Friday night, don’t worry the Festival Opening Celebration continues through the weekend, with all three performances playing over four nights until Monday.
The Melbourne International Arts Festival runs until 24 October. Information and tickets at www.melbournefestival.com.au.