Edinburgh International Festival

What’s On at the Edinburgh International Festival 2012

From 09 August to 02 September 2012 the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) will present some of the world’s foremost artistes, musicians, directors, actors and dancers during three weeks of unsurpassable artistic endeavor.

Not to be confused with the Edinburgh Fringe and its massed comics, student drama groups and avant garde bands, the Edinburgh International Festival has been enthralling visitors every August for over 60 years, with the finest opera, dance, theatre and music, transforming one of the world’s most beautiful cities into the most important arts venues in the world.

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Opera in Edinburgh

Opera lovers will be spoilt for choice as seven different productions come to town, including Janáček’s The Makropulos Case which runs over the first weekend (from 11 to 13 August) courtesy of Opera North and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde just two days later from Welsh National Opera.

Charpentier’s 1688 sacred opera, David and Jonathas is a reinterpretation of an old testament tragedy full of love, jealousy and witchcraft set on the eve of battle concludes the first full week (17 to 20 August)

The Sixteen are starting to become Festival veterans and they bring their love of early English music to the Restoration drama King Arthur.

But the last weekend is the one to save for opera lovers as Scottish Opera  wind up the festival with a trio of operas including The Lady from the Sea and James McMillan’s Clemency.

Dance in Edinburgh

Dance lovers can pick any weekend during the setival and be in for a real treat.

As with every year the dance menu is challenging and uplifting with themes of old and new setting up interesting counterpoints thgroughout the festival demonstrated by performances from the legendary Mariinsky Ballet and the up and coming stars of New York’s Juilliard School.

Deborah Culker Dance Company is back with a Brazilian remake of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin called Tatyana with music from Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Kraftwerk – I know, probably too much to take in in one paragraph but there you go!

My highlight will probably be And then, one thousand years of peace, the collaboration of the Bolshoi Theatre and Angelin Preljocaj, fusing fast, driving contemporary power with grand classical ballet. Again the soundtrack fuses both modern and traditional with techno by Laurent Garnier and samples from Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata!

I will also be checking out Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company as a delayed bus stopped me from seeing  them a few years back!

Theatre in Edinburgh

Acclaimed Polish director Grzegorz Jarzyna offers us Macbeth set in the Middle East. as I missed 4.48 Psychosis a few years back I will be marking this one in my book to make amends. Expect spectacular pyrotechnics, video effects and venue filling soundscape in place of murderous Scotsmen!

Director Silviu Purcărete returns with the Radu Stanca National Theatre of Sibiu, Romania and the world premiere of his version of Gulliver’s Travels. If it is as good as Faust was in 2009 you should try to see it.

Other highlights include Barry McGovern as the eponymous Watt in an adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s novel and Tadashi Suzuki’s staging of Electra.

Remember these are proper puckah theatre companies not just a bunch of students like you get in the Fringe and with whom you may strike it lucky in the dodgy looking venue next door. You wont find these guys leafleting on the Royal Mile! Thesecompanies are coming to Edinburgh because we want to see them, and not because they want to be seen!

Music in Edinburgh

I am not a great purveyor of live clasical music. I have an excellent stereo, a passable wine rack, a comfy sofa and some  educated friends: so why would I!?

That said, there is a fine list of very talented soloists and orchestras from all over the globe that befits an internation festival so if this is your bag then you will not be dissapointed!

So for those of you who do, here is my run down of the first few days, it’s like reading the back of the album cover: I will leave you to pour your own glass of wine!

The Opening Concert – A Mass of Life – 10 Aug
The Opening Concert presents one of the grandest choral pieces ever written: Delius’s A Mass of Life.

11 Aug – Donald Runnicles and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform two transcendental evocations of nature and landscape – Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony and Strauss’s Alpine Symphony.

12 Aug – Celebrated American soprano Deborah Voigt returns in a concert contrasting richly Romantic songs from Europe with a diverse selection of dazzling American vocal works, accompanied by US pianist Brian Zeger.

13 Aug – Sir Roger Norrington leads the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream transports us to Shakespeare’s fairy world.

13 Aug – His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts and Concerto Palatino and actually I might come out for this one!

13 Aug Trio Zimmermann play Schubert’s String Trio in B flat D471, Schoenberg’s String Trio and Mozart’s Divertimento in E flat.

14 Aug – Antonio Meneses’ Cello and Maria João Pires on Piano… and I am a sucker for Cello and Piano ever since I was honoured to hear Alexander Bailey play in a private concert in an old hall in St Albans.

The rest I will leave you to discover at http://eif.co.uk/browse/music/09-08-2012/02-09-2012/all/all/date/1

The festival brochure is available here.

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