Quirky musical settings, arrangements of old favourites, and the inner workings of the opera singer are next year’s highlights.

Hobart’s popular summer festival Mona Foma, or MOFO, has announced a typically eclectic line up for 2018. A piano, saxophone and drum trio arrangement of Frank Zappa’s music, an operatic performance taking audiences deep into a mezzo’s larynx, a mash-up of contemporary and classical oud performance, and Robert Davidson’s acclaimed musical settings of iconic speeches may be of particular interest to Limelight readers.

Robert Davidson. Photo: supplied.

“MOFO is a celebration of unique creativity and personal expression ranging freely across music, visual art, dance, spoken word, architecture, spas and more”, said Brian Ritchie, curator of the festival. “The messages range from pure abstract form to blatant protest and a few stops in-between. Even the food, wine and beer are idiosyncratic.”

“We’re bringing artists from all over the world to Tasmania. Some are visiting for the first time. Others have moved here as immigrants or refugees. Some of our artists are world-famous exponents of their vision and others come from the margins of society. Even from cultures where they would not have been allowed to create until recently. MOFO will give everyone an equal platform and a chance to be heard.”

The Premier of Tasmania also announced today that M0FO 2018 will receive state government funding. “Thanks to the state government’s funding announcement, we’ll be seeing a bifurcated version of MOFO in 2018 which means we’ll be holding some major events in Launceston, including a massive free block party, as well as major events at our 2018 festival base in Hobart. The MOFO and MONA teams are champing at the bit to set off sparks with new partners in the North of the State,” Brian said.

Highlights of this year’s festival include Adam Simmons, Alessandra Garosi and David Jones rearranging the music of Frank Zappa in a piano, saxophone and drum trio. Vocal Womb sees mezzo-soprano Eve Klein sing while a laryngoscope inside her throat gives audiences a glimpse of the obscured, fleshy production of the operatic voice.

Eve Klein. Photo supplied.

Meanwhile, former conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra Karim Wasfi will team up with oud player Rahim AlHaj. They will unite traditional and contemporary classical music from the East and West in this world premiere performance.

Finally, composer Robert Davidson brings his acclaimed settings of audio and footage of iconic speeches – from Bertolt Brecht to JFK to Julia Gillard – to live piano, performed by Sonya Lifschitz.

Mona Foma takes place in Hobart and Launceston January 12 – 22. Tickets go on sale October 16 at 12pm.

Festival Details