Reviews & features: International Festival

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American mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to Edinburgh Festival

16 Jul 2010

DiDonato performs Idomeneo and with David Zobel at EIF 2010

Last summer, mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato soldiered on with a broken leg in London and was plunged into darkness at the Usher Hall. Carol Main keeps everything crossed for the Kansas girl’s Edinburgh return

Further Edinburgh International Festival highlights 2010

16 Jul 2010

Montezuma Carl Heinrich Graun’s opera about the Aztec leader who welcomed Spanish adventurers into his kingdom only for them to quickly get tore into the plundering and subjugation explores the clash of two very different worldviews. King’s Theatre…

An overview of the 2010 Edinburgh Festivals and their directors

15 Jul 2010

What to expect from Edinburgh in August

Nowhere does a festival quite like Edinburgh, and even with the film folk having long moved out of August, there is more than plenty going on for lovers of art, literature, comedy, theatre, kids entertainment, music, dance and military displays. The…

On Stage, On Screen brings Porgy & Me and Meredith Monk doc to Filmhouse

7 Jul 2010

Short season of films reflecting the diversity of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Solid gold theatre-to-screen transitions Porgy & Me and A Streetcar Named Desire are showing alongside last year’s fascinating documentary Meredith Monk…

Edinburgh festivals line-ups announced

28 May 2010

Whatever your cultural poison, Edinburgh’s festival circuit has it covered

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Edinburgh, My Home: Jonathan Mills

22 Mar 2010

Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills on the virtues and indiscretions of his adopted home

John Adams and Lee Breuer among Edinburgh International Festival 2010 highlights

22 Mar 2010

As the programme is launched for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, we cast an eye over the highlights

Peter and Wendy

17 Sep 20093 stars

A Caledonian Pan with puppets

Perhaps the weightiest problem that confronted Mabou Mines in bringing this long-established production (first conceived in the mid-80s and running for 14 years) to Edinburgh was the issue of how many tons of coal Newcastle could take. Putting up a…

Admeto, re di Tessaglia

11 Sep 20093 stars

Exit, pursued by a butoh sheep

Opera is a medium well placed to embrace the ridiculous, and sometimes to render it sublime. Strained voices, high drama, grand sets, expensive costumes and expensive tickets: they all have their place, and it can be a fine line between spectacular and…

Actus tragicus

11 Sep 20094 stars

Bach in a dolls house

'I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.' Virginia Woolf's sentiment is one the characters in Actus tragicus might well understand - though her black humour would probably be lost on them. Filling the stage is an impressive…

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3 Sep 20094 stars

Haunting Chekovian elegy

Over the years, there have been a number of examples of dramatists borrowing characters from other writers’ works and giving them life elsewhere, but no version of this kind of experiment could be as striking as Brian Friel’s reflection on the later…

Il Ritorno Di Ulisse In Patria

1 Sep 20094 stars

Austere, beautifully performed homecoming for a not-so-wily Ulysses

It's hard at first to know where to look on this stage. The story of Ulysses' return, as written by Monteverdi, is played out by puppets, but close behind them are their puppeteers, their heads only a few centimetres apart and a few centimetres larger…

The Yalta Game

1 Sep 20093 stars

Love story in duologue

The giddiness of love, as well as the dark cynicism that can sometimes undermine it, is a thematic concern to which Brian Friel’s work frequently returns. In this loose theatrical adaptation of Chekov’s short story ‘Lady with Lapdog’, we see an…

The Testament of Cresseid

1 Sep 20093 stars

Classic Scots poem, recited with a modest touch of theatre

If broad strokes of theatricality are to your taste this new translation of Robert Henryson’s 15th Century Scots riposte to Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, directed by David Levine, might not be entirely to your taste. There’s a strong sense of the…

The Last Witch

24 Aug 20095 stars

Sensual story of power and the state

Beneath its bare story there’s something far more complex at work in Rona Munro’s new piece for the Traverse and the EIF. This re-imagining of the true, though factually sketchy, demise of Janet Horne, a Dornoch woman executed for witchcraft in 1727 and…

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The Return of Ulysses

23 Aug 20095 stars

And they all lived happily ever after. But what happened next?

Homeric purists will be disappointed here. This is a tale of Penelope, not Ulysses, and it takes place almost entirely after the return of the hero – in narrative terms, after the end of the Odyssey. By the end of the scene one Ulysses has returned…

To tire of Londoners at the Edinburgh Fringe

23 Aug 2009

Steve Cramer's Festival blog

After Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea, I went to the Assembly bar and drank the tea. I was contemplating which was the more indifferent drinking experience out of these two, when I was cheered by a chance meeting with Candida Benson, an actress whose own…

Gelabert Azzopardi Companyia de Dansa

23 Aug 20095 stars

Works of total theatre from Cesc Gelabert

Catalan choreographer, Cesc Gelabert is back at the Edinburgh International Festival after a five-year absence. He’s been missed, and the two new works he delivers in this double-bill show exactly why. These are works of total theatre, where music…

Dance hitlist

23 Aug 2009

Everything Must Go, Flhip Flhop: Everything Happens on the Break, Michael Clark, Scottish Ballet, Zeitgeist

Scottish Ballet

23 Aug 2009

Three diverse works from our national ballet company, all of which will put these increasingly powerful dancers to the test. Reportedly his own personal favourite, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Scenes de Ballet opens the night with style and sophistication.

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Let's Dance: Michael Clark Company

21 Aug 2009

With Bowie on the soundtrack, Clark's new work is the flagship show of the EIF's dance programme

When you’re the closest thing the dance world has to a household name, every word you say, work you create and mistake you make is documented and kept for posterity. Despite turning 47 in June, Michael Clark is still dogged by the term ‘enfant…

Tragic endeavours: Staatsoper Stuttgart’s Actus Tragicus

21 Aug 2009

Lifting the lid on one of the EIF's must-sees

Actus Tragicus. A presentation of tragedy. With that title, Stuttgart Opera’s production is hardly going to be a bundle of laughs. Yet, the sheer beauty of the Bach cantatas, which lie at the heart of this highly unusual synthesis of music and drama…

Hitlist: Festival music

21 Aug 2009

What to see this week

Pokey La Farge, Actus Tragicus, Magazine, Maria Tecce, Malinky, Camille O'Sullivan, Air Alba


20 Aug 20094 stars

Dark, thrilling and unsettling adaptation of Goethe’s classic

Surely one of the Edinburgh International Festival’s most ambitious projects, Silviu Purcarete’s grand adaptation of Faust takes over, and fills, the huge warehouse space at Ingleston’s Royal Highland Centre. Based on Goethe’s treatment of the German…

Lee Breuer on Peter and Wendy

20 Aug 2009

The Mabou Mines director discusses bringing his critically acclaimed play to the EIF

Mabou Mines’ innovative, bittersweet adaptation of JM Barrie’s fantastic tale is brought to vivid life by performer Karen Kandel and seven puppeteers, accompanied by Johnny Cunningham’s original musical score, played live on stage by a seven piece band.