A spectacular free outdoor event, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams celebrated the start of the 2018 International Festival.
The 2018 International Festival season bursted into life with a spectacular free outdoor digital performance celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People and reflecting on the centenary of the end of the Great War.
Inspired by themes of communication including telegrams sent by young soldiers in 1918, Five Telegrams weaves a newly commissioned orchestral score, projected digital artworks and live participation together to consider themes of machines and codes, censorship, propaganda and reconciliation – ideas that resonate powerfully in contemporary life.
Working closely with 59 Productions, Scottish composer Anna Meredith has crafted a new work for orchestra based on material found in the Imperial War Museum. Meredith is a composer, producer and performer whose genre-defying works span the worlds of classical, pop and electronic music.
Having created three previous epic opening performances, 59 Productions are well known to International Festival audiences. Over the past decade they have used innovative new technologies to reimagine concert performance, theatre, opera and exhibitions. Five Telegrams will be led by Richard Slaney, who was responsible for the hugely successful The Harmonium Project at the 2015 International Festival.
Five Telegrams is an historic partnership that will see two great festivals working closely together. The project will open the International Festival outside the Usher Hall on 3 August and was broadcast at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on 13 July. This joint production marks the first time the International Festival and the Proms have worked together in this way. A recording of Five Telegrams performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sakari Oramo, is the soundtrack for Five Telegrams in Edinburgh. With additional contributions from young people in Edinburgh and working in partnership with Edinburgh College of Art, and as part of 14–18 NOW, the UK's arts programme for the First World War centenary, Five Telegrams is a truly collaborative event.
You can find more information about the event here.
For details about road closures and travel information, what you can bring into the arena, and timings for the event on our Arena Information page.
We were live streaming the event on our Facebook page from 10.30pm. If you would like to be notified when we go live, follow our Facebook page and enable notifications from us.
★★★★★ "a flawless spectacular" The Scotsman
One of the most innovative minds in modern British musicPitchfork on Anna Meredith
Undoubtedly amongst the most innovative and technically advanced design teamsThe Arts Shelf on 59 Productions
Created by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions
Co-commissioned by Edinburgh International Festival, BBC Proms and 14-18 NOW.
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo Conductor
BBC Proms Youth Ensemble
National Youth Choir of Great Britain
More information about the team:
Anna Meredith is a composer, producer, and performer of both acoustic and electronic music. Her sound is frequently described as ‘uncategorisable’ and ‘genre-defying’, and straddles the different worlds of contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock.
Her music has been performed everywhere from the BBC Last Night of the Proms to flash mob body-percussion performances in the M6 Services, PRADA & Fendi fashion campaigns, numerous films, installations and documentaries, pop festivals, clubs and classical concert halls worldwide and broadcast on Radios 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.
59 Productions is the Tony Award-winning company of artists behind the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, globe-trotting smash hit War Horse, the design and creative direction of the record- breaking David Bowie is exhibition and the decor concept design for The Met Ball, hosted by Anna Wintour. 59 are world-leading specialists in design for stage and live events, the go-to team for generating creative and technical ideas to realise ambitious artistic projects. 59 Productions have created the large-scale opening events for the Edinburgh International Festival for the last three years, using the exterior of the Usher Hall in 2015, Edinburgh Castle in 2016, and taking over a whole precinct of the city in 2017.
As a signature event for the Year of Young People 2018, the performance in Edinburgh also features contributions from students at the Edinburgh College of Art. They have designed costumes inspired by the composition’s themes to be worn by 250 young singers in the production. Part of the University of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh College of Art is a leading international art college, the oldest and largest in Scotland, that provides higher education in art, design, creative, and performing arts.
The Edinburgh International Festival is an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts and an annual meeting point for peoples of all nations. Committed to virtuosity and originality, the International Festival presents some of the finest performers and ensembles from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre for three weeks each August. The Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams will be the opening event to the 2018 International Festival. You can explore the full programme online here.
As the world’s biggest classical music festival, the BBC Proms offers eight weeks of world-class music-making from a vast array of leading orchestras, conductors, and soloists from the UK and around the world. In a first-time collaboration between the two organisations, the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival co-commissioned the multimedia score Five Telegrams by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions, which will help open the BBC Proms on 13 July and the International Festival on 3 August.
14-18 NOW is the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Five Telegrams was commissioned as part of 14-18 NOW, a five-year programme marking the centenary of the First World War (between 2014 and 2018) with an extensive series of art experiences. These artworks bring stories from World War One to life while also shedding new light on them, changing perceptions both of the past and the present. Working with arts and heritage partners all across the UK, 14-18 NOW has commissioned over 325 artworks inspired by the period 1914-18, which have been seen by more than 30 million people.
This is a signature event for the Year of Young People 2018, an initiative led by the Scottish Government that empowers young people by giving them valuable platforms to share their ideas and contribute to their communities. We have co-designed the event with young people. We are recruiting young people to fill various paid roles that are integral to running the opening event, including a group of camera operators who will record their impressions of the night to be released as a short event film afterwards.