Tickets now on sale for Edinburgh International Festival 2009 – the world on stage in Edinburgh.

8 April 2009

Edinburgh International Festival Director Jonathan Mills has announced his programme for the 2009 Edinburgh International Festival. This year’s programme is inspired by The Enlightenment, an incredible period in the 18th century which saw an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. Festival 2009 is the 63rd Edinburgh International Festival, three weeks of opera, dance, theatre, music and visual art, running from Friday 14 August to Sunday 6 September. Each summer Scotland’s beautiful capital city is transformed by artists and visitors from around the world into what has been described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘not just the most thrilling, beguiling, preposterously enjoyable place on Earth; it is also wonderfully addictive.’ Or as The Spectator said ‘you can sleep in September’. Mills commented, ‘A visit to Edinburgh in the 18th century brought one to the source of the ideas and inventions that laid the foundations for so much of the modern world. ‘Eloquent testaments to the diversity of Scottish culture and its universal appeal include music from anniversary giants Mendelssohn and Handel, heard alongside contemporary composers and world premieres, a radical reimagining of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan by New York’s Mabou Mines, a Belgian look at the fragile community of St Kilda, a new work from choreographer Michael Clark, the premiere of a new play about Scotland’s last woman to be executed for witchcraft, and a recital from Bryn Terfel. ‘In Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, exploring notions of identity, of home and homecoming is an important theme running through the programme provoking very different responses from artists. Scotland’s diaspora continues to resonate as far away as Singapore and Australia. These ideas are explored not just from a Scottish perspective, but also from that of South East Asians, Europeans and South Africans. ‘This year particularly I would like to thank all those funders, sponsors, supporters and individuals who contribute to the Festival. The Edinburgh International Festival receives strong support both at home and from around the world and it is thanks to this that we can present programmes which have artists and audiences flocking from around the world each year.’ Theatre in Festival 09 includes Optimism, after Voltaire’s Candide, Malthouse Melbourne’s version transforms the classic satire of enlightened insanity into a cutting commentary on the no-worries bravura of Australian swagger; director Silviu Purcărete’s wild adaptation of Faust, a tale in which science and rationality blaze into consciousness, is macabre theatre on a grand scale; The Last Witch by Rona Munro is the world premiere of a Festival co-production with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre based on the story of Janet Horne, the last woman executed for witchcraft in Scotland; Lee Breuer and Mabou Mines bring us their reimagined Peter Pan, Peter and Wendy, with a score by Johnny Cunningham played live on stage; Diaspora, a visionary production by director Ong Keng Sen with TheatreWorks and the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, explores memory, migration and assimilation through personal stories; and Brian Friel’s poetic and often surreal style has made him Ireland’s most popular living playwright, a Festival residency from Dublin’s Gate Theatre offers the opportunity to see three of his masterworks Faith Healer, Afterplay and The Yalta Game, and celebrates his 80th birthday. Dance includes The Return of Ulysses, in which Christian Spuck’s witty choreography shows off the talents of the dancers of Royal Ballet of Flanders, with music from Henry Purcell, Charles Trenet and Doris Day among others; Catalan choreographer Cesc Gelabert and his company Gelabert Azzopardi Companyia de Dansa present Sense Fi with music by Pascal Comelade and Conquassabit with music by Handel; Scots born Michael Clark returns to the Festival for the first time in 20 years bringing a new work which takes as its starting point the music of rock’s holy trinity of the late 1970s David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed; Scottish Ballet returns to the Festival with a programme of Ashton’s Scenes de Ballet, Forsythe’s Workwithinwork and the world premiere of Ian Spink’s Petrushka with the original Stravinsky score performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Staged opera includes St Kilda, Island of the Birdmen performed in Gaelic, French and English by the Chœur et acrobates des Hainauts and Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles directed by Jean-Paul Dessy and Thierry Poquet; Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria by Monteverdi in a production by Handspring Puppet Company and Ricercar Consort directed by William Kentridge and conducted by Philippe Pierlot; a new production of Handel’s Admeto, re di Tessaglia in a production from the Göttingen International Handel Festival directed by Doris Dörrie and conducted by Nicholas McGegan; and Actus tragicus from Staatsoper Stuttgart, a production directed by Herbert Wernicke which takes six of Bach’s cantatas and weaves them into a compelling theatrical whole. This year’s visual arts programme, The Enlightenments, is curated by Juliana Engberg and is presented in partnership with the Dean Gallery - National Galleries of Scotland, Collective Gallery and Talbot Rice Gallery. The Enlightenments sees seven new commissions and two projects new to Scotland from nine major visual artists offering contemporary observations on subjects including philosophy, superstition, literature, natural history, the cosmos, scepticism and social manners. Artists are Tacita Dean, Greg Creek, Joshua Mosley, Lee Mingwei, Gabrielle de Vietri, Nathan Coley, Joseph Kosuth, Susan Norrie and Juan Cruz. Artists in concert include Sir Willard White, Bryn Terfel and Ivo Pogorelich, Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, Philippe Herreweghe, Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jordi Savall, Le Concert des Nations, Sir Roger Norrington, Joyce DiDonato, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Sir Charles Mackerras, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; David Zinman, Dawn Upshaw, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Donald Runnicles, Baiba Skride, Jan Vogler, Ingo Metzmacher, Christian Tetzlaff, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Alexei Ogrintchouk, Bejun Mehta, Christopher Maltman, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Quatuor Mosaïques, Andreas Staier, Hopkinson Smith, Arditti Quartet, Bernarda Fink, Christian Zacharias, and the Emerson String Quartet, Lado Ataneli, Susan Neves, David Robertson, the Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki, the FestspielOrchester Göttingen, Nicholas McGegan, Hamburg State Opera, Simone Young, Harry Christophers, The Sixteen, Sir Mark Elder, and the Hallé. The popular early evening strand at Greyfriars Kirk continues this year with Bach at Greyfriars. Artists include Huelgas Ensemble, Dunedin Consort, Bach Collegium Japan, Ricercar Consort, Cantus Cölln and Retrospect Ensemble. The Hub, home of the Edinburgh International Festival, is host to The Caledonia Sessions, four concerts which explore the musical scene in Scotland in the 18th century and before as part of the cultural backdrop to the Scottish Enlightenment, performed by Concerto Caledonia and guests including Alasdair Roberts, Patsy Seddon, Katharine Fuge, Michael Marra and James Gilchrist. The Festival joins with Scotland’s national academy of science and the humanities The Royal Society of Edinburgh, along with Nature – the international weekly journal of science, and the Wellcome Trust to present a series of talks and discussions, The Enlightenment. The Festival comes to a close with the traditional spectacular, the Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with fireworks launched from Edinburgh’s iconic castle on Sunday 6 September at 9.00pm. Jonathan Mills concluded, ‘Festivals are exceptional opportunities to immerse oneself and escape from the everyday, nowhere is this more so than in Edinburgh. Whether you engage with this year’s theme or seek out performances more intimately for their individual intrigues and merits, I hope that you will find something inspiring, perhaps unexpected and even transformational. I urge you to join us on this very special journey that celebrates hundreds of years of Scotland’s greatest minds and the ideas which are still shaping our lives today.’