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Pride of Scotland
Writer Carol Main looks at the rich and varied array of Scottish artists appearing at this year’s Festival
Home grown talent leaps out from the music programme of this year’s Festival, whether at the Usher Hall, Queen’s Hall, Festival Theatre or the Ross Theatre.
Edinburgh-born percussionist Colin Currie makes his Festival debut as a soloist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in music by recently knighted doyen of the composition world, Ayrshire’s very own James MacMillan. Playing his Percussion Concerto No 2, Currie, newly appointed as Patron of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and the Festival’s Young Musician’s Passport Ambassador, gives MacMillan’s rhythmically energetic score its Scottish premiere at the Usher Hall.
Top Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti plays Glazunov with the Oslo Philharmonic, but it is at the Festival Theatre that one of Scotland’s finest voices can be heard. Lyric soprano Marie McLaughlin, originally from Hamilton, makes a rare appearance in Scotland as Marcellina in a staged concert performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. It is a role she has sung internationally, including at La Scala and the Royal Opera House, where she made her debut at age just 24. Catch her while you can.
Scottish Opera bring their new H.M.S. Pinafore, while the younger operatic voices of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students can be heard in Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress. No Festival would be complete without the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and its stalwart Scottish singers, not to mention their long-time Edinburgh resident Chorus Master, Christopher Bell. This year, the Chorus celebrates its 50th anniversary and performs twice with the RSNO, as well as with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the SCO, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under their extraordinary Scottish maestro, Donald Runnicles.