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Usher Hall

48 hours at the International Festival

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Let’s imagine what your first 48 hours at the International Festival could look like this August. Ready? Steady? Go!

Friday 3 August

By 10.00pm you’ll be arriving at the Festival Square in front of the Usher Hall. Your International Festival adventures will begin very soon at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Opening Event: Five Telegrams, which kicks off another summery festival season in the Festival City. If you happen to have some spare time before the start, you can revisit this blog about the inspiration behind Five Telegrams to get more context on the multisensory event you’re about to experience.

Saturday 4 August

You’ll likely wake up buzzing with excitement and rightly so – especially if you’re heading to the recital by Nicola Benedetti and the Academy of Ancient Music. Mornings at The Queen’s Hall are such a blissful way to start the day in August - a moment of serenity ahead of all that busyness outside.

Midsummer | Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

After the concert, why don’t you make your way to The Hub, the home of the International Festival? Here you can see the National Theatre of Scotland’s Midsummer throughout August (it’s on until the 26th!), and grab a delicious lunch or a refreshing drink at Hub Café. In the same building, you can also pop into Hub Tickets box office to get more International Festival tickets.

Later that afternoon you might like to watch the Usher Hall launch its International Festival programme with the Opening Concert, where Edward Gardner will conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra joined by celebrated soloists and the National Youth Choir of Scotland performing Haydn’s Creation. Or, in an alternative scenario where you’re more up for some theatre that night, you’ll be going to The Lyceum, just behind the Usher Hall, to see a powerful production of Beckett’s seminal piece Waiting for Godot. There will be an exciting evening ahead of you either way!

Sunday 5 August

There’s no such thing as a lazy Sunday in August when there are so many events to attend! What might be in your schedule that day, we hear you ask? Let’s say it’s Cold Blood at 3pm in the King’s Theatre. You’ll surely be curious to see what that “cast of dancing hands” does on the miniature stage – that video teaser is very intriguing!

In the evening, you could give opera a go and hear some of those memorable tunes from The Barber of Seville (Fiiiigaro! Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!). This production of Rossini’s comic opera is going to be something truly special: the cast is exquisite, Jérémie Rhorer conducts his own period-instrument orchestra, and the stage design is spectacular…

In an alternative scenario, you may choose to go to two concerts by incredibly talented youth ensembles at the Usher Hall: National Youth Choir of Scotland at 3.00pm, followed by NYO-USA Jazz at 8.00pm.

As the day comes to a close, you may find yourself wondering how it’s possible that it’s only been 48 hours since the International Festival started and you’ve seen so many incredible shows already.

The Barber of Seville | Photo: Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
Enjoy a revitalising spa break at the Sheraton Grant Hotel & Spa at the heart of Edinburgh
What’s next?

Don’t worry, once the first 48 hours at the International Festival are up, there’ll be still three more weeks ahead, and LOTS more events to be enjoyed… Take a look at the calendar and see what’s on.

Once your visit to Edinburgh comes to an end and all the memories from the amazing shows and concerts you’ve attended start to sink in, you may start thinking about your next visit to Edinburgh. The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, the International Festival’s Partner Hotel, is the perfect urban getaway for a relaxing spa break later this year – and in the Festival City there’s always something interesting going on! 

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