The Edinburgh International Festival 2016

One of the largest cultural events of the year, the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), returns to the capital city on 5 August to exhibit some of the world’s greatest artists and performers. Scotland invites audiences from all over the world to experience this well-loved annual showcase that celebrates the creativity and originality of a range of disciplines within the performing arts.

Staged over three weeks, the festival invites a total 2,442 artists from 36 nations to showcase their talent in locations across city. In 2016, EIF will launch events and performances at iconic venues such as Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock – which will become canvases for illuminations and projections reflecting the heritage of the city. Attendees can expect a varied mix of performances including opera, theatre, dance, classical music and contemporary music.

This year, EIF hosts presentations from accomplished artists, including Oscar-nominated singer Anohni; world-renowned ballerina Natalia Osipova; Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli; acclaimed director John Tiffany; and Edinburgh’s own Mercury Prize-winners Young Fathers. Whilst celebrating international artistic ability, the festival strongly promotes the Edinburgh art scene and shows the best in new, emerging and established Scottish talent.

Prominent Scottish actor and writer, Alan Cummings, features frequently throughout the three weeks, with performances of his popular cabaret show Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs! He will offer up his own personal interpretations of well-known songs by musicians such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, and will share intimate stories with festival goers.

Marking the 400-year anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, reworks of his plays will be performed by three renowned theatre companies. Thomas Ostermeier returns to the festival with his critically acclaimed production of Richard III. Whilst remaining faithful to Shakespeare’s original, Ostermeier creates a theatrical and thrilling representation of evil. Shakespearean inspired music will also feature throughout EIF this year, with performances from Strauss, Verdi, Rossini, Bellini and Tchaikovsky.

During the festival, 42 concerts and recitals from some of the world’s most successful classical musicians will take place. Featured performers the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra, and pianist Daniil Trifonov, will perform three concerts through the month of August. Alongside this, a series of special concerts will celebrate the success of Scottish contemporary music – from post-rock, modern folk, electronica and hip hop.

Additional collaborations across music, film, dance and animation, as well as EIF’s work with local students and established artists, ensures it’s reputation as a strong and leading contributor to the social and cultural life of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh International Festival, 5 August – 29 August, venues across the city.

Read our feature on EIF in the new issue of Aesthetica (issue 72). Pick up a copy of the magazine:

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1. Natalia Osipova and Guests Promotional Image. Courtesy of EIF 2016.