Arts: Edinburgh International Festival programme
Hearts’ Tynecastle Park stadium will host an orchestral opening event for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival as organisers opt for a change of tone.
The spectacular light shows, which have lit up the castle, St Andrew Square and the Usher Hall in the last three years, have been dropped in favour of the Los Angeles Philharmonic which will perform the first of four concerts in the city.
Led by its renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event will be a special free concert for 15,000 people on 2 August, celebrating Hollywood’s greatest movie music with a programme featuring soundtracks from cinema’s golden age and a selection from the world’s best-loved film composer, John Williams.
EIF director Fergus Linehan said the Tynecastle concert, starting at 7pm – earlier than the light shows – would be more family-friendly and was an important expansion of the Festival into other areas of the city.
Speaking at Tynecastle, he said: “We have never done anything in this part of the city. We have been to Bruntsfield, Leith and Castlebrae and we thought it would be good to put on a show here. We are also working with Tynecastle High School.”
The LA Phil is joined by young people from Scotland and the US throughout its Festival residency, with members of YOLA (Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles) participating at Tynecastle Park. The LA Phil is also collaborating with Scottish young people from the Big Noise Orchestra – part of Sistema Scotland – culminating in a free open rehearsal in the Usher Hall led by Gustavo Dudamel on 4 August.
This year’s programme features 93 events, with 293 performances across 17 venues and 2,600 artists from 40 nations.
- Peter Gynt starring Scottish actor James McArdle (The James Plays, Angels in America, Mary Queen of Scots), in a new version byDavid Hare after Henrik Ibsen, directed by Jonathan Kent, in a major co-production with National Theatre of Great Britain
- Two of Berlin’s opera houses visit Edinburgh: Komische Oper Berlin return to the Festival with the much-loved Tchaikovsky opera Eugene Onegin, created by the company’s Director Barrie Kosky and featuring soprano Asmik Grigorian; and Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles leads his Deutsche Oper Berlin in a concert version of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, starring American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky
- Following the enormous success of Light on the Shore in 2018, the International Festival returns to Leith Theatre, hosting concerts from some of today’s most original voices including Jarvis Cocker, Anna Calvi, Kate Tempest, Neneh Cherry, Sharon Van Etten and Teenage Fanclub
- An extensive opera in concert programme with all-star international casts including the final instalment of the International Festival’s Ring cycle, Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, led by US soprano Christine Goerke; Puccini’s widely-loved Manon Lescaut withsopranoSondra Radvanovskyin the titular role; and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, featuring British countertenor Iestyn Davies
- A new version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring by Chinese choreographer Yang Liping and Oscar-winning designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and the world premiere of Scottish Ballet’s The Crucible, the centrepiece of the company’s 50th anniversary season
- A special series of five concerts celebrates the career of Scotland’s most internationally renowned composer Sir James MacMillan in his 60th birthday year, culminating in the world premiere of his Symphony No.5 Le grand inconnu. Supported through the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund
- The European premiere of Roots by the critically acclaimed theatre company 1927 in a stylish blend of cinema, visual theatre, animation and live music
- Sir Ian McKellen recalling seminal moments from his career and marking 50 years since his landmark performances at the 1969 International Festival
- Sydney Theatre Company’s multi award-winning staging of Kate Grenville’s novel The Secret River, which takes an unflinching look at Australia’s dark history
- Two concert performances of West Side Story with an international cast and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner
- Stephen Fry performing Mythos: A Trilogy,threegripping performances based on his best-selling book that bring to life the classic stories of ancient Greece
- All of Scotland’s national companies contribute to 2019’s programme including the National Theatre of Scotland with Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Roadand the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves by Scottish Opera, based on the Lars von Trier film of the same name
- You Are Here is a new season of theatre, dance and music, which offers audiences the opportunity to travel the globe in the company of artists whose performances give us fresh perspectives and insights into the world around us, asking where we are and where we are going. Artists include Serge Aime Coulibaly (Burkino Faso), Ifeoma Fafunwa (Nigeria), Robert Softley Gale (Scotland), Milo Rau (Switzerland), Oona Doherty (Northern Ireland) and Marcel Khalife (Lebanon)
- Learning and Engagement programmes include Art of Listening, a new composition programme for senior school music students and a three-year residency at Leith Academy where International Festival artists and staff support and mentor pupils year-round
Mr Linehan said: “At the end of the first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947, conductor Bruno Walter wrote that the Festival has succeeded because ‘it was of the utmost importance and most to be desired that all the ties, which had been torn, should be re-united’.
“The 2019 International Festival launch is framed against a backdrop of division and confusion. With artists and audiences from all over the world gathering to celebrate each other’s music, theatre, dance and art, we hope that the 2019 International Festival will offer a refreshing dose of generosity, inclusiveness and optimism”.
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