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Second week round up

Two weeks of the International Festival have flown by! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the last week, shall we?


You were mesmerised, excited and inspired by dance . Yo, Carmen  “cut through the Carmen-cliches with charismatic solos that are akin to anthems of free will and self-determination” (The Herald). “The full-bodied choreography was expressive, with curving limbs, supple torsos and well-drilled stamping” (The Times) and, in your words, it was a “brilliant life-affirming performance” (@JulieDuchess). Dance theatre Vuelos was “magical, fun and beautiful” (@tessaq03) and “every minute of this [was] done with grace and sophistication, yet perfectly pitched for all ages to enjoy” (The Scotsman).

Since Thursday, the stage of the Lyceum Theatre has become home to Blak Whyte Gray where “all shades of hip hop run, like an electric current, through this superbly danced triple bill” (The Herald). It “starts at an electrifying pitch and from there just keeps building” (The List) so expect to be left “absolutely speechless. Just awe-inspiring. A must for any dance or performance lover” (@duncanhendry). Make sure you catch it until Saturday 19 August; there are even two performances on the last day, so no excuses – book your tickets now.

Blak Whyte Gray


Yes, it happened, “yet another glorious triumph” (The Scotsman) – Peter Grimes wowed the audience and critics alike with “beauty and violence in Stuart Skelton’s voice” (The Times) and according to Keith Bruce “Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra gave us possibly the finest Storm I have ever heard” (The Herald).

Three Monteverdi’s operas were something very special too. “Gardiner and his superb international cast (…) deliver the goods, with consummate style” (The Herald) with “wonderful little bits of stage business throughout” (The Herald).

And there’s more opera to come! Macbeth opens tonight (18-20 August) and La bohème follows next week (25-27 August). Don’t miss either.

Peter Grimes curtain call


Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid continuously enchants the audience with its “hilarious yet poignant glamour” (@mspaulsonellis); Flight takes you on “a stunning and emotional journey unlike any theatrical experience” (@ManualCinema); and Meet Me at Dawn breaks you to pieces, because it’s “devastatingly beautiful” (@KolbrunBjort).

Krapp’s Last Tape was awarded The Herald Angel last week and Barry McGovern, “arguably the greatest living male performer of Beckett's work” (The Herald), was there to accept the award.

The Divide invites you to explore the dystopian world across two parts in “epic scale of immersion” (@frejagift). “Spellbinding, funny, intensely moving and brilliantly acted” (@CathyAbbottLab) with universal praise for Erin Doherty’s “amazing and engaging performance” (@itsmejayjay). We spoke to the audience one night after the show and that’s what they had to say:

Spirit of ‘47

Over 11 days, from Sunday 6 August to Wednesday 16 August, we welcomed artists and writers from all over the world in the Spirit of ’47 programme co-curated with British Council. They joined us in Edinburgh to discuss how the founding ideals of the festival are still relevant today. Art and culture acting as beacons of hope and reconciliation in a divided world were at the core of the celebrations of the 70 years of international cultural collaboration, we partnered with the British Council

Even though the programme of events has finished, the Spirit of ’47 lives on thanks to our friends at BBC Arts Digital. Visit their Spirit of ‘47 mini-site to view full recordings of New European Songbook and Spirited Voices, exclusive excerpts from MINEFIELD and New and Now, and lots of interviews with the artists and speakers who contributed to this special 70th anniversary programme. Don’t miss the full recording of the keynote event with Paul Auster presented by the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

As a little throwback to the week before, take a look at the video from Benjamin Clementine’s concert below:

Classical Music

At the Usher Hall, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra “made Elgar their own” (The Herald) and St Cecilia’s Hall is full of beautiful music thanks to concerts like the one from Mahan Esfahani, which was “as joyful as it was revelatory” (The Scotsman). The morning recital series at The Queen’s Hall is strong as ever with the Gringolts Quartet’s “immaculate execution of impeccable, mature interpretations” (The Herald), or “an exceptional recital, perceptive and entirely persuasive” (The Scotsman) by René Pape and Camillo Radicke. BBC Radio 3 broadcast the morning recitals, so if you’ve missed any you can listen to them on demand. Below, a special treat for you from Benjamin Appl and Pavel Kolesnikov:

More to come!

We hope you reserved some energy for the last week of the International Festival, as there is A LOT to see and hear over the next few days. You can rest in September!

Share your thoughts on the International Festival events you’re attending by using #EdintFest online. We love hearing from you!

All photos © Beth Chalmers | Edinburgh International Festival

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