Reviews & features: International Festival

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Sarah Connolly

12 Aug 2010

Mezzo soprano returns to jazz roots

Among other things, 2010 is likely to be memorable as the year of the mezzo-soprano at the Edinburgh International Festival. Joyce DiDonato, Petra Lang and Christine Brewer, who replaces the indisposed Susan Graham, are just three of the famous names…

The Gospel at Colonus reveals authentic traditions at its heart

11 Aug 2010

Reworking of Greek tragedy takes centre stage at EIF

His celebrated version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House cast dwarf actors opposite Amazonian women performers while his reimagining of Peter Pan using pint-sized puppets made audiences look anew at JM Barrie’s classic children’s tale. Now theatrical maverick…

EIF show Caledonia discusses banking and Scottish nationalism

11 Aug 2010

Darien colony tale retold at Edinburgh International Festival

The last time the National Theatre of Scotland was on an Edinburgh International Festival stage they told, in 365, small, beautiful half-stories about teenagers, played by unknown actors - living in the forgotten corners of public life. That was in…

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra play Carl Nielsen's Fourth Symphony

5 Aug 2010

Helsinki-based orchestra bring two nights of romance and drama

In a festival blockbuster of an orchestral programme at the Usher Hall, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s pair of concerts stands out as a triple celebration of one of Scandinavia’s greatest composers, Wagner and the human voice. In putting on…

Jonathan Biss opens EIF Queen's Hall series

5 Aug 2010

Young American talent will bring passion to EIF launch

Whether volunteering for Barack Obama in the Primaries or traversing the globe with his intimate piano recitals, the young Jonathan Biss has long proved he’s no run-of-the-mill talent. Light on pomp and heavy in enthusiasm, the Indiana-raised pianist…

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The Sun Also Rises performed by New York's Elevator Repair Service

5 Aug 2010

World premiere adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's novel

The Edinburgh International Festival’s theatre programme kicks off with this world premiere adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s first major novel by acclaimed New York ensemble Elevator Repair Service. The company apply their trademark stylised…

Norrington to step in for EIF concert

30 Jul 2010

Conductor to replace Sir Charles Mackeras for Idommeneo performance

Following the sad news last month that Sir Charles Mackerras had passed away, the Edinburgh International Festival has announced that Sir Roger Norrington will now conduct the performance of Idomeneo with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on Fri 20 Aug.

Porgy and Bess takes centre stage at Edinburgh International Festival

16 Jul 2010

Opéra de Lyon's production of Gershwins' crossover classic

As operas go, it’s fair to say that Porgy and Bess blew in like a hurricane. When George and Ira Gershwin’s self-styled ‘American folk opera’ featuring a libretto by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward appeared on the New York stage in 1935, its cast of…

New York stories: The Sun Also Rises and Vieux Carré hit Edinburgh 2010

16 Jul 2010

Elevator Repair Service and Wooster Group head up International Festival

If the world of theatre was like a finely crafted china shop, then two very impressive bulls are preparing to charge at this year’s International Festival. As leaders of the experimental pack, Elevator Repair Service and the Wooster Group perform, not…

Diciembre finds dark humour in Chile's Pinochet years

16 Jul 2010

Teatro en el Blanco go back to basics with politically engaging EIF production

The Pinochet years continue to leave a deep scar on the Chilean psyche. Playwright Guillermo Calderón tells Mark Fisher why Diciembre tackles some dark memories but still finds humour in his nation’s tortured past

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Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal to run at Edinburgh Festival

16 Jul 2010

The legacy of the German choreographer at the 2010 International Festival

The death of Pina Bausch has left a gaping void in European dance. Kelly Apter introduces her final work for the EIF and discusses the German innovator’s legacy with those who were both influenced and moved by her

The Gospel at Colonus promises rousing theatre experience

16 Jul 2010

EIF soul and gospel take on Sophocles' tragedy sure to impress

If there’s a more roof-raising theatre experience at the entire festival, never mind just at the International end of things, we can’t wait to hear about it. Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s The Gospel at Colonus merges rock’n’roll, soul and gospel to fire…

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…

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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

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…

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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…


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…