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Atom Egoyan and a Joni Mitchell birthday party: The best of Luminato's big announcement

Atom Egoyan is photographed during a break in rehearsals at the Canadian Stage Company on Jan. 13, 2012.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Two Canadian premieres and a world premiere, packaged as the so-called Premiere Series, will be among the highlights of the seventh annual Luminato Festival of the Arts and Creativity in Toronto this June, it was announced Tuesday.

The world premiere, on the evenings of June 18 and 19, is a musical party at Massey Hall marking the 70th birthday of perhaps Canada's finest singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell. New York producer Danny Kapilian has already signed Rufus Wainwright and Glen Hansard (of Once fame) as performers while musical direction will come from bandleader/drummer Brian Blade (Wayne Shorter, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois). Joining Blade as performing musicians in the birthday band are guitarists Bill Frisell and Marvin Sewell as well as trumpeter Mark Isham and pianist Jon Cowherd, among others.

Having its Canadian bow is L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, New York choreographer Mark Morris's interpretation of the famous Handel oratorio, inspired by the poetry of John Milton and the paintings of William Blake. It will have three performances only, June 21-23, at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Morris, who first mounted this production in 1988, is bringing his acclaimed dance group to the Sony, with music by Toronto's Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir.

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Toronto-based film and theatre director Atom Egoyan is helming the other Canadian premiere, a presentation of Chinese composer Guo Wenjing's Feng Yi Ting in the MacMillan Theatre at the University of Toronto. The opera, about a love triangle among a seductive beauty and two soldiers, had its world premiere last year at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. This mixed-media presentation, produced in association with Spoleto, New York's Lincoln Center Festival and Currents – Art & Music, will be sung in Mandarin with English and Mandarin surtitles. Three performances are scheduled June 20-22.

Series tickets are on sale to the general public March 20, while tickets to individual shows will be available April 20.

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James More


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