Further Edinburgh International Festival highlights 2010

  • Edinburgh Festival Guide
  • 16 July 2010

This article is from 2010.

Simón Bolívar String Quartet


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, Leven Street, 14 & 15, 17 Aug, 7.15pm, £12–£35.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Mahler, Stravinsky, Berio and Bartok are all featured in this welcome return from Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons and the Netherlands’ collective which was named the top symphony orchestra in the world by Gramophone magazine in 2008.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 30 & 31 Aug, 8pm, £10–£40.

Lemi Ponifasio MAU

The Samoan choreographer Ponifasio is now based in New Zealand and with two fearless pieces – Tempest: Without a Body and Birds with Skymirrors – he has his say on issues of race, myth and consumerism.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 14 & 15, 17 Aug, 8pm; 18 Aug, 2.30pm, £8–£28.50.

Susan Graham & Malcolm Martineau

The US mezzo soprano is becoming an August favourite and here, with pianist Martineau, fills the air with tunes from her homeland as well as works by Mahler and Mozart.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 3 Sep, 8pm, £8–£32.

Simón Bolívar String Quartet

Passion and talent are a great artistic combination and rarely has it found such a perfect home than in the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. Here, the string quartet gives us vibrant renditions of Shostakovich and Bach.
Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, 4 Sep, 11am, £7–£27.


A fascinating series of talks and discussions open out the work that is going on upon the EIF stages this month. Among those appearing are Diciembre director Guillermo Calderón, choreographer Alonzo King and Elevator Repair Service’s artistic director, John Collins.
The Hub, Castlehill, 14 & 15, 18, 22, 24, 28 & 29, 31 Aug, 3 Sep, 2.30pm, £6.50.

El Niño

This year’s opening concert is John Adams’ oratorio about the nativity from a distinctly female perspective. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is led by conductor James Conlon with soprano Jessica Riviera and baritone Willard White in full voice.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 13 Aug, 8pm, £10–£46.

Jonathan Biss

Discover exactly why this young American pianist is making such waves as he plays works from Schumann and Beethoven.
Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, 14 Aug, 11am, £7–£27.

Treasures and Traditions at Greyfriars

These hour-long teatime concerts capture the sounds created by the first Europeans who ventured into South and Central America, including Bolivian baroque, sacred music from Rio and renaissance works straight out of Peru.
Greyfriars Kirk, Greyfriars Place, 16–20, 23 & 24 Aug, 5.45pm, £17.50.

Grupo Corpo

Two works from the flamboyant Brazilian dance team with the vividly coloured Parabelo which will have you feeling the Rio sands between your toes while the Latin funk of Onqotô explores some universal themes.
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 20–23 Aug, 8pm, £10–£28.50.


From the novel by Peter Carey comes this Opera Australia production about an ad exec, Harry Joy, who suffers a near-death experience. Has he come out the other side or is he now actually in hell with his family behaving in increasingly bizarre ways?
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 2, 4 Sep, 7.15pm, £14–£64.

Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert

The traditionally spectacular finale to the festival season features classics from American movie soundtracks including Bernard Herrmann’s Marnie and Leonard Bernstein’s On the Waterfront.
Princes Street Gardens, 5 Sep, 9pm, £11–£26.


Anthony Neilson directs this year’s National Theatre of Scotland EIF production about the ill-fated Darien Venture of 1698. William Paterson had a dream to found a Scottish enclave in Central America and turn his nation into a serious colonial player. How did it all go awry?
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 21 & 22, 24 & 25 Aug, 7.30pm; 22, 25 & 26 Aug, 2.30pm, £12–£27.

The Man Who Fed Butterflies

More innovative Chilean work at the EIF with Teatro Cinema giving us the story of a man at the end of his life looking to conduct a long-lost ritual belonging to an extinct tribe.
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 29 Aug, 2, 4 Sep, 8pm; 4 Sep, 2pm, £12–£27.

Kronos Quartet

Now into its fifth decade of performing, this string foursome gets stuck into works by Aleksandra Vrebalov, George Crumb and Steve Reich with a provocative display of contemporary chamber music.
Usher Hall, Lothian Road, 21 Aug, 8pm, £8–£32.

Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert

Join the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a spectacular evening of American film music with carefully choreographed pyrotechnics for a rousing finale to the 2010 Festival. Hollywood offers up a perfect opportunity for the masters of fireworks design, Pyrovision, to paint the Edinburgh skyline in cinematic style. Sponsored…

Birds with Skymirrors

Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio's production comes at a time of urgent and anxious debates on global warming. Birds with Skymirrors is a reflection, through beauty and stillness, on our relationship with the Earth. A co-production between Théâtre de la Ville, Theater der Welt 2010, Berliner Festspiele, Wiener…


Bliss is a much-anticipated new operatic collaboration with all the ingredients for excitement: a score by Brett Dean, an enthralling libretto by Amanda Holden, the directorial wit and sparkle of Neil Armfield, the virtuosity of Elgar Howarth and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the electrifying stage presence of Peter…


  • 4 stars

Caledonia is a new play by celebrated playwright and satirist Alistair Beaton on William Paterson, a financial adventurer who in 1698 devised one of the most daring and disastrous speculations of all time - to found a Scottish colony in Darien on the isthmus of Panama in Central America and turn Scotland, one of the…

Conversations: Caledonia

  • 4 stars

Writer Alistair Beaton and director Anthony Neilson talk about the extraordinary story of the Darien scheme, Scotland’s ill fated Central American colony, and its relevance today. Supported by Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust.

Conversations: Grupo Corpo

Founders of Brazilian contemporary dance company Grupo Corpo, Rodrigo and Paulo Pederneiras, discuss their beliefs and inspirations. Supported by Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust

Conversations: Kronos Quartet

David Harrington, John Sherba, Hank Dutt and Jeffrey Zeigler talk about the singular artistic vision of the Kronos Quartet. Supported by Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust.

Explorations: A Scotsman's legacy to Australasia

Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, 37th Governor of New South Wales, explores Scot Lachlan Macquarie’s contribution to Australia, in the company of one of his descendants, Ken MacQuarrie, Controller, BBC Scotland. In association with British Council.

Explorations: Creative Innovation

  • 2 stars

Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess are the Festival productions examined in a discussion on how innovative artists can influence and even change artforms. In association with British Council.

Explorations: Global perspectives and empathy

American choreographer Alonzo King talks with academic Roman Krznaric and Judith Robertson, Director of Oxfam Scotland, about empathy, change and new global perspectives. In association with British Council.

Explorations: New voices from the landscape

Professor Catherine Boyle, King’s College London, Dr Fiona Mackintosh, University of Edinburgh and Chilean based writer Odette Magnet explore the cultural landscape of South America. In association with British Council.

Explorations: Pacific Solutions

Professor Paul Carter, interdisciplinary scholar at the University of Melbourne, talks about living in a culture not your own and its implications for one’s sense of place and belonging. In association with British Council.

Explorations: Reflecting silenced narratives

Director of Diciembre, Guillermo Calderón, novelist Susan Elderkin and Neil Armfield, director of Opera Australia’s production of Bliss, discuss how lost narratives surface in artistic expression. In association with British Council.

Explorations: The Darien Venture

Playwright and journalist Alistair Beaton joins Tom Devine, Professor of Scottish History, University of Edinburgh and economist Dr Gary Shea, University of St Andrews, to discuss Scotland’s failed foray into colonialism. In association with British Council.

Explorations: The Exiled Voice

Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio, academic and poet Omar García-Obregón and Art History specialist Peter Brunt, consider the voice of exclusion and exile in the New World. In association with British Council.

Explorations: What do we mean by 'Postcolonial Art'?

Professor Robert J.C. Young, a theorist, cultural critic and historian, explores the cultural legacy of colonialism and beyond. In association with British Council.

Grupo Corpo

Building on a solid foundation of classical movement, Grupo Corpo’s high-octane ensemble of dancers combines the sensual elements inherent in Brazilian popular dance with cutting-edge contemporary dance techniques. Sponsored by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers.

Jonathan Biss

Young American pianist Jonathan Biss opens The Queen’s Hall Series with Leon Kirchner’s Five Pieces, Schumann's Kreisleriana, Mozart's Adagio in B minor and Beethoven's Piano Sonata in F minor Op 57 ‘Appassionata’. Supported by The Inches Carr Trust.

Kronos Quartet

With a fearless drive to expand the range and context of the string quartet, the Kronos Quartet is one of the most celebrated and influential ensembles of today. This is chamber music on a grand scale – colourful, imaginative, provocative and sure to set the expansive acoustic of the Usher Hall ablaze.


Graun’s rarely-performed operatic gem is the basis for an innovative new production from one of Mexico’s most exciting young directors, Claudio Valdés Kuri. A cast of fine European and Mexican singers drawn equally from old and new worlds, are led by Ensemble Elyma and its conductor Gabriel Garrido. Supported by Embassy…

Opening Concert - El Niño

Conductor James Conlon leads a wonderful cast in the opening concert for Festival 2010. The miracle of the nativity is given a new life in John Adams' oratorio El Niño. Women's voices and experiences are central to the retelling of this story unusually told from a mother's perspective. Sponsored by Heineken UK.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

A welcome return to the Festival for this great orchestra. The magical combination of the Concertgebouw, conductor Mariss Jansons and an eclectic and invigorating programme with works from Stravinsky, Bartók and Berio is sure to ignite. Sponsored by City Inn Contemporary Hotels.

Simón Bolívar String Quartet

In the final concert of The Queen’s Hall Series the Simón Bolívar String Quartet performs a programme featuring music from South America alongside works by Bach, Brahms and Shostakovich. This concert promises to finish the Festival on a high. Supported by The Peter Diamand Trust.

Susan Graham, Malcolm Martineau

Grammy Award winning American Soprano Christine Brewer's appearances in opera, concert and recital are marked by her own unique timbre, a vibrant personality and an emotional honesty. ‘spellbinding' (The Guardian) ‘she brings a soaring opulence to this music, the tone the sumptuous and rounded, the top notes…

Tempest: Without a Body

Part dance, part theatre, part ceremony, Tempest is an awe-inspiring reflection on our modern world from Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio and his company MAU. This Shakespeare-inspired work explores timeless themes of political freedom and personal liberty. Supported by Visiting Arts.

The Man Who Fed Butterflies

  • 2 stars

This original and poetic story makes the very most of Teatro Cinema's celebrated striking visual style blending film and live action. Brave and ambitious, The Man Who Fed Butterflies asks questions about the true potential of the human mind. Performed in Spanish with English supertitles. A co-production between Edinburgh…

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