Mofo 2017: Peaches to bring her one-woman Jesus Christ Superstar to Hobart festival

More than 200 artists from a dozen countries will feature in the Hobart summer festival, including Z-Trip, Mike Patton and Maynard Keenan

The electropop provocateur Peaches takes on Jesus Christ Superstar for next year’s Mona Foma, the summer festival of Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art.

More than 200 artists from a dozen countries as far-flung as Azerbaijan will feature in the five-day festival in Hobart. (Mona Foma is an acronym for Museum of Old and New Art: Festival of Music and Art, and is often further shortened to Mofo.)

Peaches, the Canadian electronic musician and performance artist, will perform Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 rock opera as a one-woman show at the Theatre Royal. Peaches Christ Superstar has been performed sporadically since 2010 but the Mofo performance will be its Australian premiere.

Left-of-centre collaborations and premieres jump out from the lineup, with some Australian musicians reaching outside their comfort zones for the avant-garde festival. Brian Ritchie, the bass guitarists for the Violent Femmes and the festival’s curator, said the artists on the 2017 bill had been encouraged to cross media and extend their practice.

Many will be appearing at the festival in “artist-in-residence” mode, responding in real-time to the inspiration of the site.

The Australian rock band Regurgitator will reinterpret the Velvet Underground’s debut album, with the addition of synth and Chinese zither. Jim Moginie, the guitarist from Midnight Oil, will perform with the German theremin virtuosi Carolina Eyck and a piano accompaniment.

As previously announced, Mike Patton, the frontman of the California rock band Faith No More, will bring the live world premiere of tētēma: the fruits of his collaboration with the experimental composer Anthony Pateras, in their only Australian show; and Maynard James Keenan, best known for his work as vocalist in the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, will perform with his elaborate side project Puscifer on Mofo’s outdoor stage – in costume and with a wrestling ring.

The opera collective Foundation IHOS Amsterdam will premiere a new work during Mofo, titled Before the Flame Goes Out – subtitled a “memorial to the Jewish martyrs of Ioannina, Greece”.

The DJ Z-Trip, a pioneer of the mashup movement, is also on the bill, as is Germany’s Pantha Du Prince, who fuses house, techno and indie.

Artists and punters alike will be able to interact with art, science and music installations and exhibitions in and around Hobart for the festival’s duration. Highlights include a “wet analogue” synthesiser created by the Australian artist Guy Ben-Ary from his own body cells, and an “interactive endurance walk on amplified salt inside a shipping container”, brought to Mofo by Mick Douglas.

The program is rounded out by markets, parties and dining experiences inspired by “Salvador Dalí’s cookbook”.

Will Hodgman, the Tasmanian premier and its minister for tourism, said Mofo 2017 would transform the city of Hobart and its surrounds “into a somewhat surreal stage”.

The festival will take place between 18 and 22 January, with tickets on sale from 17 October. Tasmanian residents are eligible for a “locals’ discount”.


Elle Hunt

The GuardianTramp

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