Five performances not to be missed at this year’s Belfast festival
- Mariinsky Orchestra, Waterfront Hall, October 16 Renowned conductor Valery Gergiev will lead the Mariinsky Orchestra in a performance of Russian composer Shostakovich’s masterful Leningrad Symphony. The work was written in tribute to the suffering of the people of Leningrad at the hands of German forces in the Second World War, and contains stirring passages and haunting movements
- Macbeth, Clarendon Dock, October 22-31 Roaring motorcycles, flaming torches and moving metal structures will bring a twisted take to one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays.
- The Unforgettable Choir, Belfast City Hall, Monday October 19 Last year’s Urban Hymns musical extravaganza proved one of the big sleeper hits of the festival, with May Street Church packed to the rafters for a joyful evening of song. The Inishowen Gospel Choir returns to Belfast for another evening of music with Brendan Murphy, Bap Kennedy and Joe Echo, among others.
- Talks series, various dates: Always a popular strand at the festival, this year’s line-up is particularly high-brow and includes American philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky, intellectual Jonathan Miller and Damned Utd and Red Riding author David Peace.
- Julian Clary, Ulster Hall, Thursday, October 22: The Godfather — or rather Fairy Godmother — of outrageous, camper-than-a-long-row-of-tents comedy returns to Belfast for a stand-up show.