The ten-day, C$10 million festival, called "Luminato," is scheduled for June 1-10, 2007 at venues around the city and will include visual and performing arts, film and literature.
"Our vision started with the premise that Toronto, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, has the potential to become one of the most creative cities as well," said Tony Gagliano, festival co-founder. "Luminato, in time, will bring the best of the world to Toronto, and the best of Toronto to the world."
At this early stage, only a partial program has been announced, but it will include an oratorio called Not the Messiah, a festival commission from Spamalot creators Eric Idle and John Du Prez. The work, to be performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and its music director Peter Oundjian (a cousin of Idle's) with soloists, choir and narrator, will be based on the film Monty Python's Life of Brian. "It will be funnier than Handel, though not as good," said Idle.
Other events include the world premiere of a multi-media co-creation by film director (and Armenian-Canadian) Atom Egoyan and artist (and Turkish-Argentine) Kutlug Ataman.
The festival's name was chosen to "capture the essence of the creative spirit." The the idea of light, or "lumina," was chosen, with a "to" at the end of the word to represent Toronto, Ontario (popularly referred to in Canada as "T.O."). "We hope 'Luminato' will become synonymous with the power of the arts to enlighten all of us," said co-founder David Pecault.
Ontario finance minister Greg Sorbara pledged C$2 million towards the inaugural festival, which will also be supported by corporate, provincial, and organizers hope, federal funds.
The festival is headed by newly-appointed CEO Janice Price, a Toronto native, who comes from the same position at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Price's extensive industry experience also includes stints as vice president of marketing and communications at Lincoln Center.