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Explore the programme | 2019 International Festival


For many years this festival has been a symbol of Scotland. A finite amount of time and an insane amount of art coming at you. So people are coming in flocks to try and make some sense of the world. It’s a marvellous concentration of artistic talent. A really inspiring atmosphere, especially for us. It’s a kind of mixture, it’s 50% terror and 50% excitement. The Edinburgh International Festival is that moment every year when Edinburgh becomes the world stage. The intention of the Festival was always to create an international meeting point. Whether you’re looking at China or Africa or America or whatever else, you are thinking in the global sense. We started doing Opening Events a few years back on the basis that we felt that there’s such a commitment from the people of the city to the Festival that we should all come together and celebrate. And to kick off celebrations, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel will open the International Festival to thousands of spectators with a special free open-air concert at Tynecastle Park as part of their special three concert residency. Going from Mahler to all of this music that we will do, I think shows the great flexibility of our orchestra. Scottish star James McArdle returns to the International Festival
stage as a star of Peter Gynt There’s days where I just think ‘What? What? I’m playing Peter Gynt, are you sure?’ You do feel you’re bearing witness to a life and in an to life and if we’re in all its glory and
its pettiness and its ridiculousness and its absurdity but it’s nonetheless what
is powerful about the play and by the end of it you really feel you’ve you’ve
watched a man’s life. Visionary director Barrie Kosky directs the Komische Oper Berlin’s production of Eugene Onegin, a heart-rending love story that features some of Tchaikovsky’s most inspiring heartfelt
music. Eugene Onegin has many stories it’s not just a story about a young girl
who writes a letter, it’s an opera not about success, it’s not and it’s not
about the two lead characters dying, they don’t have the release of death
it’s an opera that ends on a question mark. It’s a story about love, loss, tears longing as all the single other opera. Two highlights of this year’s dance program transform classic
works of art into startling new forms Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring
is reimagined by Chinese choreographer Yang Liping and her Peacock Contemporary Dance Company, reframing Stravinsky’s totemic work and infusing it with
Eastern philosophy and music. A central work of American literature, Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible is adapted into a brand new narrative ballet by
acclaimed choreographer Helen Pickett and the artists of Scottish Ballet. Arthur Miller gives you everything. He’s chosen the 1600s to highlight a moment in history full of fear, tyranny and finger-pointing, superstition and the
fear of others, the fear of difference. It is not different today. In the King’s Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company’s production of The Secret River, adapted
from Kate Grenville’s novel by playwright Andrew Bovell, is a shattering
account of the tragic conflict between the first settlers of Australia and its
Indigenous people. He saw the smoke from the nearby ridge.
He knew what it meant – someone was coming. At the Lyceum, poet, playwright, novelist
and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay’s soul-searching memoir Red Dust Road is
adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta. I think it would be strange for me and for
everybody in my family to watch it, my mum keeps saying ‘Who’s going to be
playing me?’ It started off with me tracing my birth father and that became such a strange and unusual experience I already felt as if I was a character in
a novel and that my life is a story that was happening to me and there was no
point in making up fiction about it because the truth was already quite
stranger than fiction Jackie Kay’s memoir takes her to Nigeria
which is also the set of Hear Word! The full title is Hear Word! Naija Woman
Talk True, which is basically ‘listen and learn’ or ‘listen and understand’. Nigerian
women are speaking the truth in the first part of it it has a lot of humor
and it deals with issues where women themselves have oppressed other women. Hear Word! Naija Woman
Talk True, is part of You are Here. You are Here is a new strand of the Edinburgh International Festival programme that brings a whole range of artists from around the world
together to look at questions of what internationals citizenship might mean in the 21st century. We are inviting artists from very, very
different backgrounds and cultural perspectives to bring their work to
Edinburgh in the month of August so You are Here might not answer all the
questions but I’m absolutely sure it will provoke that question of who we are
and where we are now in a world that is very, very turbulent. Scotland’s celebrated composer Sir James McMillan turns 60 and we’re marking the occasion with
concerts that showcase the breadth of his work. I’m very proud that a focus
like this is happening in my own country I’ve written four symphonies so far and
I always wondered if there might be a fifth one, and indeed the fifth one has
come along. Well they certainly hear the wind. It’s in the breath movement. Two legendary actors, Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry both visit the International
Festival this year. To celebrate his 80th birthday, Sir Ian revisits the best-loved roles from his incredible career. Writer, actor, raconteur and national treasure, Stephen Fry brings Mythos: Gods. Heroes. Men., his trilogy of shows retelling the Greek myths There’s something about Greek heroes, they’re fabulously flawed, they’re not heroes because they’re perfect,
they’re heroes because they overcome their own imperfections. I’ve tried to be
fair and honest as far as the original sources of Greek myths are concerned but
to retell them in a way that I hope shows why they’re still so beguiling, so
extraordinary when the stories are somehow the strongest stories. Another classic Greek myth is radically retold as wunderkind director Robert Icke and Internationaal Theatre Amsterdam reshape Oedipus the King
into a political giant of today. Lauded New York composer Missy Mazzoli’s opera Breaking the Waves receives its European premiere, directed by Tom Morris.
It’s a dream come true, it’s really exciting because in a way this piece
started in Edinburgh, the librettist Royce Vavrek and I travelled
to Edinburgh and Glasgow and Isle of Skye and drove around and did research
and sort of soaked in Scottish culture as we were before we had even written a
note I thought it’s such an amazing film and I really loved lars von trier I
loved his work and I thought why mess with a good thing but the more I thought
about it the more it just it was it was a movie that sang to me and it was a
story that sang to me and I thought I have an opportunity here as a composer
to illuminate the different layers the different psychological things that
these characters are going through a work of unimaginable artistry in scope
the international festivals four year concert Ring cycle draws to a stunning
conclusion with Goethe Domino Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Royal Scottish
National Orchestra we supremely accomplished by Canadian soprano
Christine Gurkha for me she is every woman you know over the operas in the
Ring cycle we get to see her from you know a know-it-all teenager blossoming
into a woman who has experienced despair and defeat and betrayal and love for the
first time and she proves herself to be strong and brave in ways that she had no
idea that she was capable of being the storytelling happens in the orchestra on
the stage with the text it is brilliantly layered and it carries you
on a journey like no other in Opera there really is no better way to start a
festival day than at one of the Queen’s Hall concerts crowds gather daily for
morning recitals from some of the best classical music ensembles and soloists
in the world virtuoso cellist and winner of 2016 s BBC young musician of the year
Sheku Kanneh-Mason returns to the International Festival, this time
accompanied by his sister Isata at the piano for a recital of Beethoven, Debussy and Mendelssohn. I mean we grew up listening to classical music so I have early
memories of certain pieces being played around the house like our parents always
played a lot of Schubert so you grew up with the trout quintet and the death and the
Maiden String Quartet so these kind of pieces take me back to my early
childhood. And I grew up listening to Isata practice. [Laughs] Yeah, it’s a programme of pieces that I have got to know quite recently. Amazing, we’re ending with Mendelssohn’s sonata in D major. It’s just such a colourful piece and the first movement is kind of joyful throughout and that just
makes it enjoyable to play and then you have a kind of wonderful and dark but
cheeky scherzo. If you start your day at The Queen’s
Hall finish it at the Leith Theatre. One of the coolest venues in town, Leith Theatre’s reinvention continues seizing the spotlight for this year’s contemporary music programme including Anna Calvi Teenage Fanclub, Connan Mockasin, Sharon Van Etten, Jarvis Cocker with his new project Jarv Is, Neneh Cherry, Kate Tempest, This is the Kit and Efterklang. The Usher Hall also plays host to a
selection of contemporary music from across the globe. Afro-pop Malian duo Amadou & Mariam collaborate with living legends of gospel music The Blind Boys of Alabama whilst Marcel Khalife and Rami Khalife bring us a whole new take on
music from the Arabic world. Shooglenifty head to the Lyceum as they draw together
international collaborators for a concert shaped by three decades of
globe-trotting influences. There is nothing like the splendour of the Usher
Hall where world-class orchestras from Berlin, Shanghai, Paris, LA and the UK
perform. The Usher Hall programme forms the backbone of the International Festival
each year. There are World and European premieres of new work, familiar classics
and the opportunity to see a concert performance of one of the greatest
musicals of all time conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner with the
Scottish Chamber Orchestra. I met Lenny Bernstein when I was in Paris as student and then
of course I spoke to him about West Side Story because you know it made such an
impact on me as a 15 year old. and I asked him I said you know in
America [hums] Did you not get
that from Monteverdi? because it seems awfully like to me Orfeo [hums] which is a combination of 3/4 and
6/8 He said “Yeah, yeah I did, I guess I did” So he admitted to that. There’s something about music theatre if it’s done with a very un-arty way Is not too sophisticated. It’s beautiful. Hungry for something else? There’s even more to discover from Yiddish operetta. Surrealist guided video tours of the Old Town at twilight. Early music recitals at St Cecilia’s Hall. Contemporary dance in the beautiful surroundings of Jupiter Artland and the traditional festival finale The Virgin Money Fireworks Concert. Bring the whole family,
pack a picnic, and celebrate the closing of the International Festival with one of the largest firework concerts in the world.

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