Edinburgh International Festival announces 2018 programme

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The Edinburgh International Festival has launched its programme for 2018, promising 'an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts and [a] meeting point for people of all nations'. 


The Festival runs from 3-27 August 2018 and opens with the spectacular free Standard Life Aberdeen Opening Event, Five Telegrams, a digital performance celebrating Scotland's Year of Young People, and marking the centenary of the end of the First World War. Full details will be released on 25 June 2018

The opening event is followed by over three weeks of world-class culture and entertainment, with performers and companies from across the world. and Fergus Linehan, Festival Director said: 

One of the joys of working in the Festival is the opportunity to welcome the world to our country and to our city – and then to have a great party! In 2018 there is a particular emphasis on working collaboratively both with Scottish based artists and ensembles and with our international partners to make work from all over the world. We are celebrating different cultures, showcasing Scottish culture, and telling many stories through many different languages.

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Star musical names performing at this summer's International Festival include conductor Sir Simon Rattle, soprano Christine Goerke, violinist Nicola Benedetti, American musicians and singer-songwriters St. Vincent and John Grant and contemporary Scottish musicians including Mogwai and King Creosote

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In dance, leading UK choreographers Akram Khan and Wayne McGregor present new work, while opera fans can look forward to two productions of Rossini bookending a programme also including Siegfried and The Beggar's Opera 

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And in theatre, there's top class work from creators including Peter Brook, Katie MitchellRoxanna Silbert and Geoff Sobelle, writers David GreigAlice Birch and Édouard Louis, and actors Anna Deveare Smith and Aaron Monaghan

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Major international companies include Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord with three new productions, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Opéra de Lyon, London Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony OrchestraOslo Philharmonic and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:

The 2018 Edinburgh International Festival programme features some of the finest performers and ensembles from Scotland and across the world. The programme continues to support international partnerships and collaborations, maintaining the profile of Scotland as the world-leading festivals capital.

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For the first time in 30 years, the Edinburgh International Festival will be returning to Leith Theatre, as the venue reopens to the public after three decades, for a special season called Light on the Shore sponsored by Edinburgh Gin. 

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Light on the Shore celebrates the variety and collaborative spirit of Scottish popular music with a range of artists performing at Leith Theatre. Acts taking part include Mogwai, Karine PolwartKing Creosote and Django Django, as well as orchestral ensembles such as Anna Meredith and the Southbank Sinfonia, the s t a r g a z e ensemble conducted by Andre de Ridder, and The Grit Orchestra. Full details will be released on 2 May 2018

Fiona Hyslop added:

The Festival’s ability to build new audiences by pushing the boundaries into new spaces, featuring exciting new contemporary music, is what keeps it fresh and exciting. I am delighted that Expo funding of £190,000 has supported their work to re-establish their relationship with Leith Theatre and independent producers and artists.

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Young classical musicians are given particular prominence this year, as part of the Year of Young People, with orchestras including the YOA Orchestra of the Americas, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the Colburn School Orchestra, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of the USA and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland

There's also a four-concert residency from the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and the Festival will host the semi-finals and final of the Eurovision Young Musicians 2018, featuring a judging panel Scotland’s leading composer Sir James MacMillan and US conductor Marin Alsop

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The International Festival will close in traditional fashion with the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert on Monday 27 August. Over 400,000 fireworks will bathe Edinburgh Castle in their light, all choreographed to the music of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Princes Street Gardens below.

This summer's Concert will feature the music of Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Holst, promising a stirring evening and a fitting end to Edinburgh's summer festivals. 

Edinburgh International Festival runs from 3-27 August 2018 and priority booking for Friends and Patrons opens on a staggered basis from Thursday 15 March. Full public booking opens at 10am on Saturday 24 March.

Find out more about the International Festival at eif.co.uk

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