Edinburgh International Festival programme unveiled

This article is from 2008

Ideas of contemporary Europe explored

This year’s Edinburgh International Festival will take the changes and challenges facing contemporary Europe as its theme, it was announced today.

Highlights of the programme include the world premiere of Matthew Bourne’s new dance work ‘Dorian Gray', with music composed by Terry Davies.

Another world premiere is ‘Giselle' from the State Ballet of Georgia. Its artistic director and prima ballerina Nina Ananiashvili will dance the lead role.

Also making its international debut is Heiner Goebbels’ new work with the Hilliard Ensemble. The piece is called ‘I went to the house but did not enter’.

Vicky Featherstone will be directing the National Theatre of Scotland’s ‘365 one night to learn a lifetime’, written by David Harrower (who wrote ‘Blackbird’, ‘Knives in Hens’ and ‘Dark Earth’) and with songs by Paul Buchanan. The play tells the story of young people in ‘practice flats’ who are about to leave care.

Poland’s TR Warszawa will bring two productions to the Festival - ‘Dybbuk’ and ‘4.48 Psychosi’s - the latter written by young dramatist Sarah Kane, who committed suicide nine years ago.

Belgium’s Muziektheater Transparent is collaborating with Collegium Vocale Gent for Ruhe, setting Schubert songs against the testimony of SS veterans.

And the Palestinian National Theatre is performing ‘Jidariyya’, an examination of mortality, based on a poem by Mahmoud Darwish.

On the music front, Valery Gergiev is to lead the London Symphony Orchestra in all seven of Prokofiev’s symphonies and his violin concertos.

And Scottish Opera is putting on the world premiere of a fully staged production of Smetana’s ‘The Two Widows’, starring Jane Irwin and Kate Valentine.

There is a rich and varied mixture of international music on offer, with everything from orthodox Christian traditions to devotional masterpieces from Islam.

Expanding on using notions of a changing Europe as the Festival’s theme, its director Jonathan Mills said: ‘Recently, the European Union has expanded to encompass 27 countries, from Estonia to Cyprus, with a combined population of some 500 million people. Political borders have been redrawn in every direction one cares to look.

‘These borders are not just political or geographic, but, more significantly, represent a profound shift of cultural, social and even religious identity and opportunity. These are exciting times in which to live in Europe; times which demand a commitment to our sense of community.’

The EIF, which was founded in 1947, runs from Friday 8 till Sunday 31 August, culminating I the Bank of Scotland fireworks concert, performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets go on sale on Saturday 12 April at www.eif.co.uk. (Ashley Davies)


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