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The Opening Weekend of the International Festival
The opening weekend of the Edinburgh International Festival is absolutely packed with exciting events - how do you decide what to see?
We’ve put together a few tips to help you make the most of your first weekend, and your trip to Edinburgh!
Friday 5 August
Start your International Festival off with the great Cecilia Bartoli stepping into the monumentally challenging titular role of Bellini’s Norma. This passionate production from the Salzburg Festival sets the action of the opera in Second World War France, and has already won the International Opera Award for Best New Production. Tickets flew out of the door for this one and so it is sold out, but there will be a limited number of tickets available for concessions available in person at The Hub on the day.
You’ll definitely need a drink after all that drama, so head to the nearby Brass Monkey, sip on a beer and admire their back room, which is pasted wall-to-wall with old movie posters (top tip: they screen movies for free in that room every day at 3pm).
Saturday 6 August
Hop up bright and early on Saturday morning to climb Arthur’s Seat and take in the views (Arthur's Seat and The Crags helped inspire James Hutton's theory of deep time - more on that later!). Then wander down to the Queen’s Hall for 11am to watch late Romantics Wagner and Mahler slug it out in “who can write the prettiest chord?” under the baton of Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
At around 8.00pm, you’ll make your way over to King’s Theatre for a preview of Broadway hit The Glass Menagerie. John Tiffany’s take on Tennessee Williams’ iconic play is utterly spellbinding, and you’ll be one of the first to see it! Afterwards, gather your mates for a drink and a debrief at the nearby Blackbird.
Sunday 7 August
You had a very busy Saturday. Let’s take Sunday a little more slowly.
At 6.00pm you’ll find yourself at the Usher Hall for a rousing rendition of Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and Schoenberg from The Orchestra Dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.
Thoroughly invigorated by all that music, you’ll stroll to the base of Edinburgh Castle Rock to see the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time. 350 million years of Edinburgh’s history will elapse before your eyes in an awe inspiring projection onto Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock – all to the post-rock stylings of Scotland’s own Mogwai. If you miss out on tickets, never fear, you can always tune in to the Facebook live stream by liking the International Festival Facebook page and turning on notifications so that you know when we’re live from the event.
As the last twinkles of the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time disappear back into the rock, you’ll wander home by moonlight, and think about all the other wonders the International Festival still has in store…