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Edinburgh International Festival 2017 Programme Announced

Today we unveiled our 2017 programme which marks the event’s 70th anniversary. This year’s International Festival runs from Friday 4 to Monday 28 August, welcoming 2,020 artists from 40 nations to perform in Scotland’s capital city.

Unveiling his third International Festival programme, Director Fergus Linehan revealed a mix of world-class talent from across the performing arts, featuring the very best contemporary artists and ensembles. Major artists include British bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel, singer-songwriter Jarvis Cocker, world-renowned conductor Riccardo Chailly, playwright Alan Ayckbourn, Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar, Australian chanteuse Meow Meow, violinist Nicola Benedetti and Mercury Prize winner PJ Harvey

Companies and ensembles include The Old Vic Theatre Company, revered Italian opera house Teatro Regio Torino, world-leading dance company Nederlands Dans Theater, the orchestra of Milan’s world-renowned opera house La Scala Filarmonica della Scala, and a celebration of the music of psychedelic-folk legends The Incredible String Band.

Oresteia: This Restless House

In a special season, leading Scottish theatre companies the Citizens Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Traverse Theatre Company present works which consider the origins of European drama from a contemporary perspective. Each examines, in different ways, the fragility of human relationships, society and civilisation. The work of Edinburgh-based playwright Zinnie Harris underpins all three productions: Oresteia: This Restless House from the Citizens Theatre, a reimagining of Aeschylus’s 2,500-year-old drama; an new adaptation of Eugène Ionesco’s comment on the rise of extremism, Rhinoceros from the Royal Lyceum Theatre with DOT Theatre of Turkey, and the world premiere of new work Meet me at Dawn from the Traverse Theatre Company.

The International Festival was established in 1947 in the aftermath of the Second World War to ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’ through a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange. The 2017 programme celebrates 70 years of outstanding virtuosity and innovation, and explores how the Festival’s founding ideals still resonate in today’s uncertain world.

Standard Life Opening Event: BloomThe International Festival begins with a free, public outdoor event on Friday 4 August. The Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom is a large-scale art event that celebrates the explosion of colour, vibrancy and optimism that supported the arrival of the International Festival in 1947, and its subsequent cultural influence in Edinburgh and the rest of the world.  The event brings together illuminations and projections in a central Edinburgh location produced for the third year by 59 Productions, creators of the acclaimed Harmonium Project and Deep Time.

Theatre highlights include The Old Vic – which performed at the first International Festival in 1947 and often over the first decade - with a world premiere from one of the country’s best-loved playwrights Alan Ayckbourn. The Divide is a darkly satirical love story is presented in two parts at the King’s Theatre over two weeks. The Divide follows recent International Festival co-productions which enjoyed great success in Edinburgh before being seen extensively including The Encounter on Broadway and at festivals around the world and The Glass Menagerie now on stage in London’s West End and recently nominated for 7 Olivier Awards.

Meow Meow's Little Mermaid

The contemporary music programme features artists including singer-songwriter and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker with Chilly Gonzalez, The Magnetic Fields, Mercury Prize winners PJ Harvey and Benjamin Clementine, Sitar star Anoushka Shankar and a celebration of the music of Edinburgh’s own The Incredible String Band.

Australian chanteuse and Edinburgh favourite Meow Meow presents Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid, in a subversive re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. This shimmering ‘underwater’ cabaret is staged nightly at International Festival HQ The Hub, throughout August.

An expanded opera programme presents works from all ages and for all appetites. The nine operas will appeal to both seasoned fans and opera newcomers alike. Highlights include classic operas Puccini’s La bohème, Verdi’s Macbeth, and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, while concert performances in the Usher Hall feature world class singers including Sir Bryn Terfel, Christine Goerke, Stuart Skelton, Erin Wall and Karen Cargill.

World-leading orchestras visiting this year’s Festival include the Filarmonica della Scala with Riccardo Chailly, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with conductor Edward Gardner, the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder, the Philharmonia Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis and the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Music Director Ivàn Fischer.  World-leading soloists include Nicola Benedetti, Joshua Bell and Mitsuko Uchida.

Nederlands Dans Theater

One of the world’s greatest dance companies, Nederlands Dans Theatre, returns to Edinburgh after an 11 year absence, and hip-hop lands at The Lyceum Theatre with East London’s Boy Blue Entertainment. Boy Blue also performs at Castlebrae Community High School which is turned into a performance venue for the first time, the culmination of a three-year residency between the International Festival and the school. Senior pupils have been learning about the skills required to run an event venue and will support the Festival team to deliver the performances.

The International Festival will once again be brought to a spectacular conclusion on Monday 28 August with the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert, when over 400,000 fireworks will burst into the sky above Edinburgh Castle, choreographed to live music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets for International Festival performances go on sale to everyone on Saturday 25 March. Friends and Patrons can book from today with staggered priority booking. Become a Friend here.


Portrait Exhibition of Castlebrae High School Pupils

A permanent installation of photographic portraits is a lasting legacy of the International Festival’s relationship with the school.

First show of the 2018 International Festival announced

National Theatre of Scotland's restaging of Midsummer by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre will be part of the 2018 International Festival.

International Festival Photographer Exhibition 2017 opens

Counterpoint, a photography exhibition showcasing the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival opens at The Hub