Edinburgh International Festival 2012 highlights

Highlights from the 2012 International Festival programme


This article is from 2012.

Edinburgh International Festival 2012 highlights

Batsheva Dance Company

2008: Macbeth

It’s the Scottish play in the country’s capital, but given a distinctly international perspective by TR Warszawa and director Grzegorz Jarzyna. Back at the EIF after a four-year absence (if you saw their 4.48 Psychosis, it’s unlikely you’ll have forgotten it), the company pitch Shakespeare’s macabre classic into a blood-soaked Middle Eastern conflict where morals are loose and murder is rampant.
Lowland Hall, Royal Highland Centre, 0131 473, 2000, 11–18 Aug (not 14 & 15), 7.30pm; 15 Aug, 2pm, £30–£35.

Batsheva Dance Company - Hora

They last stirred the festival in 2008 with the blazing Deca Dance, which featured the relatively rare sight of some members of an EIF audience on stage with the performers. Under the guidance of innovative choreographer Ohad Naharin (the man who developed the Gaga technique), Batsheva return with the visceral Hora, in which contemporary movement merges with ideas from the alien worlds of science fiction.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 30 Aug–1 Sep, 7.30pm, £10–£30.

Deborah Colker Dance Company - Tatyana

A true clashing of cultures here as Brazil’s major dance company take on Eugene Onegin, Pushkin’s tale of obsession in 19th century Russia, and give it a very steamy Rio twist. As if that wasn’t enough of a festival thrill, music comes from Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Terry Riley.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 11–14 Aug, 7.30pm, £10–£30.

Gulliver’s Travels

Following their staggering Faust of 2009, Romania’s Radu Stanca National Theatre of Sibiu have quite a daunting task ahead of them to match that. But something tells you that Silviu Purcarete’s company will relish the mission. xpect plenty antes to be upped as they take on Jonathan Swift’s satirical epic and bash around its themes of journey, dreams, exile and solitude.
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 17–20 Aug, 8pm; 19 Aug matinee, 2.30pm, £12–£30.

Meine faire Dame: ein Sprachlabor

Theater Basel present this (very) loosely-based take on My Fair Lady, in which a Hungarian linguist discovers a somewhat sinister note whose various mysteries have to be solved quicksharp. This witty and quirky play features music from Wagner, Ravel and, of course, Bryan Adams.
Lowland Hall, Royal Highland Centre, 14 & 15, 19 Aug, 7.30pm; 17 & 18 Aug, 2pm, £25–£30.

Scottish Opera

To mark their half-century and as part of a long-term exploration into what the genre of opera might mean in the 21st century, Scottish Opera have brought together an extraordinary array of talent for four new works inspired by the likes of Henrik Ibsen and Thomas Hardy. Among those involved in this eclectic project are composers Craig Armstrong and James MacMillan, and writers Louise Welsh, Zoë Strachan and Michael Symmons Roberts.
Various venues, dates, times and prices.

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

The spectacular finale to the festival season is never anything less than a musical and pyrotechnical extravaganza, and this year revolves around twin inspirations: the Diamond Jubilee and the World Shakespeare Festival. Garry Walker conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra through a quartet of pieces: two works by Walton, excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Vaughan Williams’ evocation of folk standard ‘Greensleeves’.
Princes Street Gardens, 2 Sep, 9pm, £12.50–£27.50.


Vanishing Point are by no means the first to put their personal stamp on Lewis Carroll’s most famous writing, but this should be an interpretation that will sear itself on your mind long after this festival draws to a close. Tackling the modern concerns of fame, power and the mainstreaming of pornography, Wonderland portrays an uncompromising vision of the dark side to curiosity.
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, 29 Aug–1 Sep, 7.30pm, £10–£30.

Hora: Batsheva Dance Company

2008: Macbeth

Deborah Colker Dance Company: Tatyana

Gulliver's Travels

Meine faire Dame - ein Sprachlabor / My Fair Lady - a language laboratory

This article is from 2012.


  • 3 stars

Hora is a thrilling spectacle of movement, an emotional rollercoaster that successfully highlights – in a company that deliberately works without soloists – the uniqueness of each one of the dancers. Led by artistic director Ohad Naharin, one of the world’s most distinctive choreographers, Batsheva Dance Company makes a…


Straight from the heart of Rio de Janeiro, Deborah Colker Dance Company transports Aleksandr Puskin's classic tale, Onegin, from 19th-century Russia to contemporary, sultry Brazil. Typically explosive energy and choreography packed full of Brazilian colour and flair combine with compelling storytelling with a wonderfully…

Waltraud Meier, Joseph Breinl

Grammy Award-winning German mezzo soprano Waltraud Meier, makes a welcome return to the Festival following her debut in 2011. One of the world’s greatest opera singers, her charisma, dramatic voice and impressive stage presence make her a favourite with the world’s leading conductors, and a regular at La Scala, Covent…

Dietrich Henschel, Steven Osborne

German baritone Dietrich Henschel brings his wide experience on the opera stage to his dramatic, heartfelt concert performances, in which he truly embodies the emotions of his songs. He is joined by the acclaimed Scottish pianist Steven Osborne, praised widely for his dazzling pianism in a programme of songs by Wolf…

Scottish Opera: Clemency

Clemency offers a contemporary twist on the Biblical take of Sarah and Abraham. Written for string orchestra and five voices it re-unites composer James MacMillan and librettist Michael Symmons Roberts.

Scottish Opera: In the Locked Room & Ghost Patrol

A double bill exploring the power of the mind, from a locked door that sparks an obsession to a modern bar where three people trying to escape their past meet and uncover a terrible secret. Co-produced with Music Theatre Wales composers Huw Watkins and Stuart MacRae team up with poet David Harsent and crime novelist…

Scottish Opera: The Lady from the Sea

Ellida, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper longs for freedom from her narrow life with her older husband. Then the arrival of an unexpected stranger offers an escape. A re-telling of Ibsen's beautiful drama from author Zoe Strachan and film composer Craig Armstrong.

2008: Macbeth

  • 4 stars

Set in a contemporary and brutal Middle Eastern conflict, TR Warszawa's 2008: Macbeth is unflinching in its depiction of the machine of violence that, once set in motion, works faster and ever more efficiently. With spectacular pyrotechnics, immersive video effects and an extraordinary, layered soundscape that plays…


  • 2 stars

A dark look at the modern world, a place where fame, celebrities and pornography are the ultimate goal, loosely based on themes explored in Alice in Wonderland. From acclaimed Scottish theatre company Vanishing Point, with Matthew Lenton directing.

Gulliver's Travels

  • 4 stars

Irish writer Jonathan Swift’s savage political satire is seen through the eyes of visionary theatre maker Silviu Purcărete with an original score by Irish composer Shaun Davey. Driven by Davey's musical journey, Purcărete's production gathers cultural and social aspects of contemporary society and explores themes of…

Meine faire Dame - ein Sprachlabor

  • 3 stars

Staged by Theater Basel, delightfully witty and (very) loosely based on My Fair Lady, Meine faire Dame - ein Sprachlabor is set in a language laboratory where its characters attempt to learn English from a very eccentric professor – with a secret to hide. Director Christoph Marthaler skilfully blends music by Weber…


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