It’s hard to believe, but we’ve already reached that time of year when arts companies and festivals start to announce their programs for the forthcoming season. Leading the way, Adelaide Festival has revealed its centrepiece opera for 2024: Robert Lepage’s production of Igor Stravinsky’s The Nightingale and Other Fables.

The internationally acclaimed Canadian auteur, who was last seen at the Adelaide Festival in 2018, will arrive in Australia to oversee rehearsals in late February. First seen in Toronto in 2010, his bold reimagining of The Nightingale, which is told using acrobatic shadow play, Vietnamese water puppetry and traditional Taiwanese hand puppets, has been widely praised.

A man sings in front of an orchestra in, with the silhouette of a man with a wolf's head displayed in the background.

Robert Lepage’s production of The Nightingale and Other Fables at Canadian Opera Company in 2018. Photo © Michael Cooper

The production is famous for turning the conventional operatic experience on its head, placing the orchestra on stage, while the singers perform and manipulate the puppets in an orchestra pit...