When Fergus Linehan took over as Edinburgh International Festival Director in 2015, it was the start of a new era. Building on excellent foundations, Fergus has put together a wide-ranging and exciting programme for 2016 in which 2,442 artists from 36 nations will perform betweenÂ Friday 5 August and Monday 29 August.
This year’s launch programme was introduced by the Director using ‘new technology’ with artists on screen beside him at the Festival Theatre – a most interesting and, indeed refreshing, way of giving us a taste of things to come.
A special concert series will celebrate Scottish contemporary music, from post-punk to post-rock, art-school pop, traditional and modern electronic and hip hop. This new series is designed to ‘shine a light on the unique character of modern Scottish music’.
Opera this year concentrates on two high-quality productions, ‘Norma’ (pictured), written by Bellini from the Salzburg Festspiele and Mozart’s ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ from the Festival d’Aix en Provence. In theatre, Tenesee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie promises to be a stunning production, already described on Broadway as the most revealing revival of a cornerstone classic. The 400 year anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (who, incidentally, died on the same day in the calendar as when he was born) is marked by productions spanning the whole programme.
For the second year the acclaimed Harmonium Project, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the Castle, will take place at 10 30 pm on Sunday 7 August. This is a dramatic outdoor lighting project, free to the public although tickets will be required. This will be produced by 59 Productions and will explore the iconic location of the Castle and Castle rock using digitally animated art work depicting 350 million years of history. It will also celebrateÂ the intellectual legacy of the city – in particular the ‘Father of the Enlightenment’ by James Hutton.
Young people and families are catered for with dance, storytelling and interactive animation. This year also includes the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, which is a biennial event and highlights the value Culture plays in the life of any successful community. Music at the Queen’s Hall features again and the Schools projects are all part of the development.
In another new departure, the Hub, headquarters of the EIF, will play host nightly to a show hosted by Scottish stage and screen star Alan Cumming. He will himself be singing in the production (pictured).
All booking details and information may be obtained from the Edinburgh International Festival, The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE, telephone 0131 473 2056.
Heading image of Anything That Gives Off Light is credited to Simon Murphy