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Edinburgh International Festival Joins the Party

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The 64th Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) got properly under way over the weekend, after officially launching on Friday. The parent to the larger Edinburgh Fringe continues until 5 September 2010 – a week after the conclusion of the Fringe - across the city's major year-round theatres, opera houses and concert halls.

Theatre highlights include: the world premiere of Caledonia, an exploration of Scotland’s futile attempt at establishing a colony in Panama, penned by political writer Alistair Beaton, directed by playwright Anthony Neilson and co-produced by the Festival and the National Theatre of Scotland; an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises by Elevator Repair Service and New York Theatre Workshop; a French multimedia, hip-hop update of George Gershwin’s 1939 classic Porgy and Bess; Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s music theatre extravaganza based on Sophocles Oedipus Rex and called The Gospel at Colonus; a revival of Tennessee WilliamsVieux Carre by New York-based experimental troupe, The Wooster Group; a visit from the Meredith Monk Company, also from New York; and two cinematic theatre offerings from Chile.

Amongst the opera highlights are the European premiere of composer Brett Dean’s new Australian opera Bliss, premiered at Sydney Opera House this month and based on Australian novelist Peter Carey’s 1981 novel about an advertising executive who sees his life in a new light after a near-fatal heart attack.

Dance highlights in the 2010 EIF programme include: the late Pina Bausch’s tropical Agua; Quimeras from Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company; and the first-ever UK visit for the San Francisco-based Alonzo King Lines Ballet.

The overall EIF thrust in 2010 is a shift of focus away from European-centric work to embark on a “journey of discovery through the diverse contemporary cultures of North, Central and South America and Australasia”. The programme includes artists from the US, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia.

EIF is just one of a number of festivals that take over the Scottish capital each August. Others include the Edinburgh Film Festival, Book Festival, Jazz & Blues Festival, Visual Arts Festival and its main spin-off, the Edinburgh Fringe which, in its own right, qualifies as the world's largest arts festival, with some 2,500 shows presented this year. For further info, visit the EIF website.

For full coverage of Edinburgh 2010, including reviews, interviews, news, gossip, blogs, features & videos,
log on to Whatsonstage.com/Edinburgh!


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