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The Edinburgh International Festival opens today with a packed programme of artists and ensembles from across the world

The 2016 Edinburgh International Festival is upon us!

Opening today with an acclaimed production of Bellini’s Normastarring world-renowned mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli in the title role, the International Festival is powering into a packed first weekend with productions opening across the city.

Running from 5 - 29 August, The International Festival welcomes 2,442 artists from 36 nations to Scotland’s capital city. In his second International Festival programme, Festival Director Fergus Linehan has brought together a wonderful mix of artists and ensembles from across the world, alongside a superb showcase of Scottish talent.

Musical highlights over the weekend include the International Festival debut of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, who performs at both The Opening Concert on Saturday 6 and on Sunday 7 with Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky. The Queens Hall series opens on Saturday 6 August with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Theatre productions opening this weekend include the International Festival’s revival of John Tiffany’s Broadway hit The Glass Menagerie, starring Tony award-winning American actor Cherry Jones. At the Lyceum, The Destroyed Room and Interiors from Glasgow-based Vanishing Point open, alongside the world premiere of Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart’s Wind Resistance.

On Saturday the home of the International Festival, The Hub, welcomes one of Scotland’s best-loved artists Alan Cumming as he takes up residence with 20 performances of his cabaret show, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. Alan will also host an extended after-party on seven evenings at The Hub throughout August, called Club Cumming.

The opening weekend culminates with the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time at 10.30pm on Sunday 7 August. The event is a free, outdoor artwork which will see the western façade of Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock used as the canvas for digitally animated projections inspired by the city’s past. The work is created by 59 Productions and set to a specially compiled soundtrack by Scottish rock band Mogwai. An audience of 27,000 ticket holders will watch from the event arena at Castle Terrace.

Throughout August the International Festival continues to welcome renowned talent to the city. Major artists appearing include legendary Australian satirist Barry Humphries, revered conductor Herbert Blomstedt with the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, singer ANOHNI – yesterday nominated for the Mercury Prize, world-renowned ballerina Natalia Osipova, Scottish post-rock icons Mogwai, acclaimed pianist Daniil Trifonov who gives three concerts, director Christophe Honoré with his new version of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and – working with Scottish Ballet - choreographer of the moment Crystal Pite.

The International Festival remains one of the world’s largest and most diverse curated festivals, as well as one of the most accessible, offering a range of discounts and affordable entry price tickets. Though rooted in the city centre, the festival reaches into wider communities and throughout August will work with local school children of all ages and present amateur choirs in venues from Dalmeny, across Edinburgh, into East Lothian as part of community singing project Songlines.

Photo Credit:

Edinburgh © Mihaela Bodlovic