Edinburgh International Festival 2011 programme keeps an eye on the East

This article is from 2011

Edinburgh International Festival 2011 is launched with an eye on the East, featuring the National Ballet of China and Ravi Shankar

Philip Glass, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle also to appear

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra raise the curtain of the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival in style this year with a performance Robert Schumann’s exotic musical Das Paradies und die Peri, one highlight from an EIF programme that boasts acts from China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and beyond.

Dance strand highlights include the European Premiere of The Peony Pavilion by the National Ballet of China, Korea’s Princess Bari, Scottish Ballet’s New Work (2011) from choreographer Jorma Elo, and the much anticipated Re-Triptych from New York based choreographer Shen Wei.

In theatre, Shakespeare is re-imagined courtesy of Contemporary Legend Theatre in one man show King Lear, while elsewhere The Tempest is transported to 5th century Korea, with adaptation and direction from Tae-Suk Oh. Also look out too for The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan, a Chinese translation of Hamlet. Elsewhere, Stephen Earnhart directs and co-writes the much anticipated stage adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s extraordinary The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Strauss’s gorgeous score compliments Die Frau ohne Schatten in the Opera strand, with further highlights in Music including performances by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, Philadelphia Orchestra, Ravi Shankar and The Philip Glass Ensemble, who will perform music from the Qatsi trilogy of films at screenings.

Finally, this year’s Visual Arts programme, in partnership with the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, comes courtesy of Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto.

The EIF runs from 12 Aug–4 Sep, various venues, Edinburgh; for full programme details see www.eif.co.uk.

2011 Edinbrugh International Festival trailer

Edinburgh International Festival

Bringing world-class arts to the capital since 1947, the EIF sets the standard for classical concerts, opera, dance and theatre, while it's recently also added an excellent contemporary music strand.

EIF Opening Concert: Das Paradies und die Peri

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, opens this year's extravaganza of world culture and high art with an exotic piece by Schumann that perfectly encapsulates the credo of this year's festival: the cultural bridges between East and West. An example of the 19th-century vogue for orientalism…

The Peony Pavilion

The National Ballet of China and the National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra present a marriage of traditional Chinese instrumentation and dance with western classical ballet in this lavish and romantic piece about a girl who falls asleep and dreams of a lover she has never met. The score, too, crosses continents as…

Princess Bari

A Korean tale with elements familiar from Western fairy lore, this piece of opulent dance theatre from Eun-Me Ahn Company tells the tale of a princess, cast out as a baby by her father who longs for a son, who returns as a blossoming 16-year-old to find her father sick. As the only one who can save him, she must venture…


  • 5 stars

Three stories of spiritual and geographic homecoming, set in three of the most iconic and culturally significant places in Asia, presented by New York-based Chinese choreographer Shen Wei and his Dance Arts group. The first part deals with a trip to the Tibetan plateau near the roof of the world; the second with an…

The Tempest

The European premiere of Mokwha Repertory Company's dramatic re-interpretation of Shakespeare's play combines the familiar story with elements from the Korean Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, giving proceedings a distinctly eastern flavour, where Prospero waves a magic fan and Caliban becomes a two-headed monster.

King Lear

  • 3 stars

A one-man version of Shakespeare's tragedy of power, deceit and biting loneliness, written, directed and performed by Wu Hsing-Kuo with an array of richly detailed costumes, live music, song, martial arts, contemporary dance and sheer stagecraft. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

  • 4 stars

World premiere of a new production written and directed by Stephen Earnhart, adapted from Haruki Murakami's novel of the same name that deals with an everyman character who loses first his cat and then his wife, the ensuing search leading him across the threshhold of his dreams and into a world where the dark forces…

The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan

A Chinese interpretation of Hamlet from the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe. The traditional Chinese orchestra and percussion ensemble accompany the troupe in their showcase of the distinctive Peking Opera (or Jingju) art form, which combines dance, singing, mime and martial arts. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: Mahler No 2

Donald Runnicles, rapidly becoming the BBC SSO's Mahlermeister, conducts the Symphony No 2, Mahler's epic testament to his own hope for transcendence and rebirth. American soprano Meagan Miller makes her Festival debut with the prominent Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill. Plus the Edinburgh Festival Chorus (Christopher Bell…

Philadelphia Orchestra 01

An evening of 20th century masterworks with Charles Dutoit and one of America's great orchestras. A Russo-French programme starts with Stravinsky's Le chant ru rossignol, then Ravel's orchestral version of his own piano duet Ma mère l'oye (aka the Mother Goose suite); then Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances and finally…

Philadelphia Orchestra

Charles Dutoit and his team of indefatigable Philadelphians return for a second evening with a programme of masterworks. Sibelius' Finlandia is one of its composer's best-loved pieces; Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto highlights the young Dutch virtuoso Janine Jansen; Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique is one of the most…

Die Frau ohne Schatten

A lush score from Richard Strauss brings to life the homely warmth of librettist and writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal's fairy tale story in this acclaimed production from the Mariinsky Opera in St Petersburg. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

The orchestra, with Ilan Volkov conducting, performs three works – Body Mandala, Speakings and _ … towards a Pure Land_ – composed by Jonathan Harvey and inspired by Buddhist thought on purification. This is the first time the three have been performed together, and a particularly exciting element of the show comes with…

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

The first of two concerts at the festival by the orchestra and conductor Kent Nagano, this subtle and spare programme includes Debussy's La Mer, Tan Dun's Water Concerto and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

Another fusion of east and west from the Canadian orchestra and conductor Kent Nagano in their second concert at the festival this year. They start with Toru Takemitsu's A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden and Mahler's Rückert Lieder, before giving Stravinsky's complete 1910 ballet score for The Firebird its first…

Ravi Shankar

  • 4 stars

Now aged 91, Ravi Shankar has led a unique career as the man responsible for almost single-handedly popularising Indian sitar music among new audiences around the world. A meditative musical form, the sound of the raga is tranquil, and this programme of 'Evening Ragas' has a fitting serenity for a performer in the evening…

Hiroshi Sugimoto

  • 4 stars

The EIF's major exhibition this year is curated by Simon Groom and consists of work from two of Japanese photographer Sugimoto's most poetic and abstract series, Lightning Fields and Photogenic Drawings. Many of these vast and detailed images were created by using a Van der Graaff generator to induce an electrical charge…

Philip Glass Ensemble: The Qatsi Trilogy – Koyaanisqatsi

An ultra-rare chance to see Godfrey Reggio's celebrated Qatsi trilogy of films with their scores performed live by the Philip Glass Ensemble. Koyaanisqatsi is arguably the most riveting of the trilogy – a dazzling, disturbing vision of urban life as a frenetic dance of destruction. Reggio's stunning images are perfectly…

Philip Glass Ensemble: The Qatsi Trilogy – Powaqqatsi

Part two of the trilogy of screenings and concerts from visionary director Godfrey Reggio and equally groundbreaking musician Philip Glass is the 1987 film, Powaqqatsi or Life in Transformation, which deals with the impact of new technologies on the lives of peoples around the world. Part of Edinburgh International…

Philip Glass Ensemble: The Qatsi Trilogy – Naqoyqatsi

  • 5 stars

The third and final part in this set of accompanied screenings of Godfrey Reggio's films. A more abstract piece than the first two, this film takes audiences into a not-so-distant future controlled by digital manipulation and technology. Its title, Naqoyqatsi, translates, ominously, as Life as war. Part of Edinburgh…

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