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Line up announced for Edinburgh International Festival 2012

Edinburgh, Thursday, 15-03-2012

Launching the Edinburgh International Festival programme for 2012 (Thursday 9 August to Sunday 2 September), Festival Director Jonathan Mills today said, ‘Every year, since 1947 we have set out to create an event to inspire and uplift audiences. In the words of Sir John Falconer, Lord Provost of Edinburgh at the time, the Festival exists to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit”. In hard times as well as good the Festival remains one of the world’s most important examples of the power of culture and the arts to transform individual ambitions and lives.

‘We rejoice in our partnership with the Olympic Games. A partnership that exemplifies the greatest sporting and finest cultural celebrations in the world standing shoulder to shoulder in the same country. I urge you all to join us in Scotland’s stunning capital this August.’

Almost 3000 artists from 47 nations including Russia, Brazil, Japan, America, Chile, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Australia, India, Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Venezuela, and of course Scotland and the rest of the UK gather to share the live experience of theatre, dance, opera and music with audiences from approximately a third of the world’s nations.

A major new addition to the Festival in 2012 sees the Royal Highland Centre’s Lowland Hall converted into a theatrical space housing three productions which can’t be staged in conventional theatres. Grzegorz Jarzyna’s (4.48 Psychosis 2008 Festival) visceral and multi-media version of Macbeth is set in the Middle East, 2008: Macbeth. Legendary French director Ariane Mnouchkine returns to the UK after a gap of 20 years with an epic and witty production Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores). Christoph Marthaler also makes a rare appearance in the UK with an off the wall and very funny adaptation of My Fair Lady, Meine faire Dame – ein Sprachlabor. These three plays run at the Lowland Hall in a venue specially created with the collaborative support of the City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and Event Scotland to enable the Festival’s ambitions in 2012. These productions are also part of London 2012 Festival.

Other theatre directors making rare appearances in the UK at the Edinburgh International Festival this year include the great theatre pedagog and theorist Tadashi Suzuki with his version of Electra and Dmitry Krymov’s brand new production titled A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It).

2008: Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It) are joined by The Rape of Lucrece performed by Camille O’Sullivan and Feargal Murray in forming the Festival’s contribution to the nation’s Shakespeare celebrations in the World Shakespeare Festival.

After his stunning Faust in 2009, director Silviu Purcărete returns with a new production of Gulliver’s Travels in collaboration with Irish folk and rock musician Shaun Davey. This is one of seven performances and productions which form the Festival’s contribution to the London 2012 Festival.

Scotland on the world’s stage, supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, is celebrated in three Festival projects. James MacMillan’s new work
Since it was the day of preparation… is given its World Premiere performed by the Hebrides Ensemble and Synergy Vocals as part of a series of early evening concerts in Greyfriars Kirk. Scottish Opera celebrates its 50th anniversary with world premieres including new operas from composers Craig Armstrong, Huw Watkins and Stuart MacRae with a second chance to see James MacMillan’s Clemency. Matthew Lenton and theatre company Vanishing Point take Alice in Wonderland as inspiration for a dark and disturbing new work Wonderland.

The celebration of the UK’s opera companies continues with the premiere of a new production of Janáček’s The Makropulous Case by Opera North with director Tom Cairns and conductor Richard Farnes. Welsh National Opera is conducted by Lothar Koenigs and joined by great Wagnerian Ben Heppner for a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde in the fabulous acoustic of Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

Continuing a celebration of the best of British music and musicians the Usher Hall series of evening concerts opens with Delius’s vast masterpiece A Mass of Life conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and sponsored by Bank of Scotland (Arts and Business Scotland Sustained Partnership Award 2011, supporting the Festival since 1947) and closes with the orchestra conducted by David Robertson in a rousing performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. Other British orchestras, ensembles and artists include the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, The Sixteen, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Donald Runnicles, Sir Roger Norrington, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Toby Spence, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the English Concert.

The Usher Hall plays host to the great partnership of Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra performing the complete Szymanowski and Brahms symphonies, and Szymanowski’s Violin Concertos with Leonidas Kavakos and Nicola Benedetti making her debut at the Festival. Other visiting international orchestras include the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre des Champs-Élysée, Les Arts Florrisants, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester represent a focus across the programme on celebrating the emerging artistic elite with young artists already making a global impact appearing across dance, theatre and music at the Festival.

Opening The Queen’s Hall morning concert series is a centenary celebration of Kathleen Ferrier who formed a very special relationship with the Festival in its early years. Recent winners of the Kathleen Ferrier Award Kitty Whately and Njabulo Madlala are joined by Sir Thomas Allen and Roger Vignoles in recital. Other artists appearing in these intimate concerts include Maria João Pires, Leif Ove Andsnes, the Calder Quartet, Rebecca Evans, John Williams, John Etheridge, Daniil Trifonov, Llŷr Williams and the Emerson String Quartet.

Over the course of the Festival its broadcast partner BBC Radio 3 will broadcast 15 live and
a further eight deferred concerts.

The Festival’s recently appointed Honorary President Maestro Valery Gergiev also leads the Mariinsky Ballet and orchestra for four performances of Prokofiev’s Cinderella. It is choreographed by the dance world’s man of the moment Alexei Ratmansky to Prokofiev’s stunning score.

Dance companies gather from all corners of the globe. Hot Brazilian moves meet Russian passion when Deborah Colker Dance Company reinterpret Eugene Onegin in the European premiere of Tatyana. Acclaimed French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj brings two programmes with his stunning company of dancers, And then, one thousand years of peace and a Stockhausen double bill with Helikopter and Eldorado. Renowned digeridoo musician William Barton joins Australia’s Leigh Warren+Dancers for the European premiere of Breathe and Impulse. The boundary breaking Kathak virtuoso, Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company from India is set to delight, and the vitality and astonishing technique of Juilliard Dance from New York with works by José Limón, Nacho Duato and Alexander Ekman offer audiences yet more great nights out at the Festival.

Thousands of runners are now set to be joined by thousands of walkers forming the participatory audience for NVA’s Speed of Light, bringing Edinburgh’s iconic city centre mountain Arthur’s Seat to life over the three and a half weeks of the Festival. Supported by Legacy Trust UK, Creative Scotland and Dunard Fund.

At the foot of Arthur’s Seat the first International Culture Summit will be hosted in the Scottish Parliament. The Edinburgh International Festival in partnership with the Scottish Government, the UK Government and British Council creates a platform and opportunity for Culture Ministers from around the world to join in discussing the power and role of culture in international dialogue. The Summit runs over the two days following the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games, Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 August.

The Edinburgh International Festival 2012 closes on Sunday 2 September with the ever popular Virgin Money Fireworks Concert firing over 100,000 fireworks intricately choreographed to music played live by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. This year, the world’s largest fireworks concert celebrates the best of British, and the Queen’s Jubilee, with famous tunes by Walton and Vaughan Williams.

The Festival’s work in opening up culture to young and old alike continues to expand with additional masterclasses and series of lectures and discussions during the Festival as well as year round work with young people to explore their creativity and connection with the arts.

In partnership with the British Council Scotland the Festival presents a series of provocative and wide ranging key notes and debates around ideas explored in the dance, theatre, music and opera programmes, Encounters. These include Robert McCrum addressing What Does it Mean to be British?, Louise Martin, Vice Chair of the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games Scotland exploring what sport means to us today with input from runners and writers, an exploration of the Four Nations of the United Kingdom and James MacMillan coming together with artists and politicians from Israel and Ireland to talk about Truce. In this Olympic year, the subject of Truce will also be the focus of a day of debate and discussion presented in partnership with the University of Edinburgh.

The passion and belief of the Festival’s many Friends, Patrons, foundations, trusts, sponsors and funders continue to support the Festival in achieving its ambitions for artists and audiences, for the city and for Scotland, as demonstrated through a 15% rise in income earned from this sector making 2012 a record fundraising year for the Festival. Many recognise 2012 as a special opportunity and have given generously to enable the Festival to achieve its ambitions for this year with special project grants for 2012 raising income from the public sector by an additional 12%, consolidating an ambitious programme and enabling the Festival to draw money from a wide range of sources.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said: ‘The Edinburgh International Festival is always a wonderful platform to showcase Scotland’s fantastic culture, exceptional talent and our reputation as a creative nation to audiences from around the globe.

‘The exciting and vibrant Festival projects that our expanded Expo Fund is supporting this year offer huge potential to celebrate and promote Scotland’s creative strengths on the world stage in 2012, the Year of Creative Scotland.’

The Rt. Hon George Grubb, Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, said: ‘The profile, internationalism, tourism and cultural riches brought to the city by the Edinburgh International Festival are part of what makes Edinburgh such a rewarding place to live. In this very special year for the UK the Festival plays an additional and significant role in extending the reach of and opportunities presented by the Olympic Games to Scotland and its Capital city. We look forward to welcoming the artists coming to join this celebration from across the globe.’

Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland: ‘Edinburgh International Festival keeps its reputation as a colossus of the cultural world through inventive and original programming, bringing the best of international creativity to the city each August. In this Year of Creative Scotland, the Festival is at the heart of Scotland’s creative calendar, attracting audiences with fascinating work and showcasing outstanding Scottish talent alongside their international peers.’

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival, said: ‘Edinburgh International Festival along with Creative Scotland are key partners in delivering a fantastic programme for the London 2012 Festival in Scotland, which will deliver a legacy of new audiences and partnerships leading right up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. This programme is a great example of the once-in-a-lifetime shows which will bring tourists and visitors to Edinburgh as part of the celebrations of the London 2012 Festival.’

Please find the complete media release package here.

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