The new Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan, today unveiled his first programme with a strong theatrical line-up and a foray into pop.
Among 2,300 artists coming to the Edinburgh Festival 2015 is big screen star Juliette Binoche in a two-week run of Antigone at the King’s Theatre, Franz Ferdinand & Sparks at the Festival Theatre, and renowned French ballet dancer Sylvie Guillem, who retires this year.
The Festival dates, Friday 7 August to Monday 31 August, are also realigned to run alongside the other major Edinburgh Festivals in August.
Following on from the Festival’s recent announcement of its music line-up - always a major component of the EIF - Linehan revealed that the Festival will open with a free outdoor event combining live choral music with digitally animated artwork projected onto the front of the Usher Hall.
The Harmonium Project, by 59 Productions, sets a recording of John Adams’s Harmonium to images created using data gathered by the University of Edinburgh as part of its research into wearable technologies and facial mapping. The Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra perform the recording and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus also worked on providing data on the physical impact of singing.
Other new faces at the EIF this year include Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lang Lang, Sufjan Stevens, Max Richter, Simon McBurney, Enda Walsh and Yuja Wang.
There are also new new productions from Festival favourite Robert Lepage and Ex Machina, Complicite and Simon McBurney, Enda Walsh and Donnacha Dennehy, Ivo van Hove and Anne Carson, Scotland’s Citizens Theatre, Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant.
“I believe that being in Edinburgh in August opens your mind and makes you more ambitious, more thoughtful, more generous and more connected. Edinburgh in festival season has the power to leave you changed and changed for the better. While I consider myself, in this role at the Festival, as the most fortunate person in the city at the moment, I still do envy those who arrive in Edinburgh in August for the first time,” said Linehan.
With an eye on the audiences of the future the Festival has introduced work for young people. These include Dragon by Vox Motus, National Theatre of Scotland and Tianjin Children’s Arts Theatre, and a family concert the day before the closing Fireworks Concert in which the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Parisian technologists Chevalvert, specialists in creating visual spectacular concerts, join in presenting music from across the Festival.
Young people (18 or under, or 26 or under and in full time education) should also take advantage of the Festival’s 50% discount on all tickets from the opening of ticket sales.
New directions for EIF music
A new series of late night music events, Hub Sessions (details below) sees the Festival debuts of Anna Calvi, Oneohtrix Point Never, Bryce Dessner and Richard Reed Parry.
Max Richter and Daniel Hope join the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for a concert at the Playhouse featuring Recomposed: Vivaldi - The Four Seasons and Memoryhouse, Sufjan Stevens kicks off his European tour at the Festival, and Franz Ferdinand & Sparks come together for a rare live performance alongside the launch of their album.
New Theatre Work
Celebrating home-grown talent, this year’s Festival offers people the world premiere of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark in a production by the Citizens Theatre written and directed by David Greig and Graham Eatough and supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.
The National Theatre of Scotland’s and Untitled Project’s Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner is also showcased at the Festival, along with aforementioned Dragon.
EIF Fireworks Concert
One of the world’s largest fireworks concerts continues to bring the season to a close. On Monday 31 August the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert will launch over 400,000 fireworks into the sky above Edinburgh Castle, choreographed to live music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, an unmissable evening. Virgin Money has recently confirmed its support of the event for a further three years.
A new partnership with BBC Arts online reconceives the Festival’s artists’ conversations to make them available to a wider audience online. The free tickets will be announced and issued on twitter, more information can be found at eif.co.uk/artistsconversations
EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 2015 HIGHLIGHTS
EIF 2015 brings new work from Complicite and Simon McBurney, Robert Lepage and Ex Machina, Citizens Theatre and David Greig and Graham Eatough, and Ivo van Hove and Juliette Binoche joining forces in Antigone, a Barbican and Les Theatres de la Ville de Luxembourg production, in association with Toneelgroep Amsterdam.
The Volksbühne Berlin makes its first appearance at the Festival with visual artist Dieter Roth’s ‘unstageable play’Murmel Murmel, a great success in Berlin.
For the first time the Festival will lend its profile and reach as an international showcase to already proven successful Scottish work, this year presenting Dragon and Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner (trailer below).
Opera in 2015 sees two very different approaches to opera and to Mozart.
Director Barrie Kosky, Komische Oper, and British theatre company 1927 have created a spectacular boundary-busting production of The Magic Flute, blending animated film and live action.
Iván Fischer’s The Marriage of Figaro with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and a fantastic line up of soloists, breaks down the staged production and puts the orchestra and conductor on stage to assist in the dramatic action.
Opera in Concert at the Usher Hall celebrates satirical works with Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore performed by Scottish Opera and Richard Egarr.
The Festival presents Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera’s world premiere of Donnacha Dennehy’s The Last Hotel marking great Irish playwright Enda Walsh’s first opera libretto.
Sylvie Guillem brings her Life in Progress with new works by Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant, a Sadler’s Wells production. Recent collaborator with Akram, Israel Galván brings his new, revolutionary form of flamenco.
Two major European ballet companies Ballett Zürich and Ballett am Rhein bring very different contemporary programmes featuring choreography by Wayne McGregor and Christian Spuck in the first, and a setting of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony by Martin Schläpfer with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra playing live in the second.
Choreographer and theatre maker Alain Platel and les ballets C de la B and NTGent bring a celebration of brass bands in En avant, marche!
And then there's TAO at the Royal Lyceum.
Eclectic Late Night Music Sessions at EIF H.Q.
The line-up for the late evening Hub Sessions is a mix of jazz, alternate, folk influenced and fusion music. Artists appearing include Chilly Gonzales featuring Kaiser Quartett, Robert Glasper Trio, Jason Moran’s All Rise – A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller, King Creosote’s From Scotland with Love, Anna Calvi and Heritage Orchestra, Oneohtrix Point Never and his score forMagnetic Rose and Bullet Hell Abstraction IV, Alexi Murdoch, Wave Movements by Richard Reed Parry and Bryce Dessner performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with images byHiroshi Sugimoto, and Sufjan Steven’s score for Aaron and Alex Craig’s film Round-Up performed by Yarn/Wire.
There are some great one night only music events across the Festival; Max Richter, Daniel Hope and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra joining to perform Recomposed and Memoryhouse;(FFS) Franz Ferdinand & Sparks in a rare live performance, and Sufjan Stevens kicking off his European tour for Carrie & Lowell at the Edinburgh Playhouse.
The Festival’s Insights this year include a lecture demonstration from Chilly Gonzales and Kaiser Quartett, talks on Antigone and The Scottish Supernatural in association with the University of Edinburgh, Andrew Graham-Dixon on the British Gothic, a masterclass with Complicite and symposium and professional development opportunities.
The second edition of International Festival Encounters, a five day summer school on developing artistic entrepreneurship, is presented in association with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.
Colin Currie will give the Young People’s Lecture explaining his passion for music and performance and incorporating marimba demonstrations.
Tickets for all events at the Festival go on sale on Saturday 28 March at 10am, unless signed up for priority booking which opens on Thursday 19 March at 10am.
More on the Edinburgh International Festival.