14 November, 2008
This year we gave you the opportunity to show us what talented photographers you are with our ‘Share Your Photos’ competition. We asked people who attended the 2008 Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert to send in their photographs and our favourite entry would win a pair of tickets to the Ross Theatre to watch the 2009 Concert.
We had an excellent response to the competition, and with over 50 fantastic entries it was hard to pick a winner but after much deliberation we have selected Will Reynolds picture ‘Fireworks Looking West’ (above). Visit the Official Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert website to view some of the other spectacular entries.
21 October, 2008
If you think you've got what it takes to sing at the Edinburgh International Festival, come along to one of the Open Rehearsals next week and show us what you can do. The fantastic Festival Chorus perform at the Festival each year and interested singers can come along, sing with the Chorus, and if you are inspired by what you hear sign up for an audition with Chorus Master, Christopher Bell. This is a great opportunity to sing in Festival 09 so don't miss out, book your place with Chorus Administrator, Helen MacLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org and come along to either The Methodist Hall, Crown Terrace, Aberdeen on Monday 27 October at 7.30pm or The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh on Tuesday 28 October at 7.00pm. If you would like to find out more about the Festival Chorus and the audition process visit www.eif.co.uk/festivalchorus.
05 September, 2008
30 August, 2008
The announcement of the fireworks starter for the The Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert featured in quite a few of the papers today including The Edinburgh Evening News and The Herald. Competition winner, Morgan Bevis, was also featured on STV.
There is a large feature in The Herald about the Herald Angels, the last batch of which were awarded this morning. Recipients from the EIF programme included Valery Gergiev, the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Ivan Fischer, Matthew Bourne and Vera Alexander who received the Little Devil award. Vera - a long time usher at The Queen's Hall - has already featured in the papers quite a bit recently for rebutting a thief's attempts to steal the takings from the venue's cloakroom.
The Scotsman features a story about a protest that happened at The Queen's Hall yesterday during a performance by the Jerusalem Quartet. The story reports that the protest was ‘countered by a standing ovation'.
There is also some coverage in the Edinburgh Evening News of a cash injection into the King's Theatre which is to be used for a revamp of the venue.
I Went To The House But Did Not Enter
‘The Hilliards bring it off immaculately; as with the whole show, there's not a detail misplaced'. The Guardian****
‘A beautifully presented experience to be savoured'. Edinburgh Evening News****
‘Will seep into the memory for some time to come' The Scotsman*****
Deca Dance 2008
‘This is a show to relish, more than once if at all possible'. Edinburgh Evening News****
‘Deca Dance served as a wonderful introduction to Batsheva's talents.' The Scotsman****
Budapest Festival Orchestra / Ivan Fischer
‘We have a terrific new violin virtuoso among us in the form of József Lendvay Jr...enthralling improvisation...powerhouse performance.' The Guardian*****
‘A fascinating and vital pointer to festival futures that's to relish.' The Herald****
‘This was playing of high expressiveness'
‘This was a brilliant performance by the quartet under trying circumstances, which was rewarded with rapturous applause.' The Scotsman*****
The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey
‘A fascinating performance...solemn yet joyful, it resonated with a compelling calm.' The Herald
Read the story by the Daily Record here.
29 August, 2008
The Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert takes place on Sunday 31 August from Edinburgh Castle with music provided by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
27 August, 2008
26 August, 2008
Soloists from the Budapest Festival Orchestra played today to a packed audience and tomorrow sees mezzo soprano Katarina Karnéus perform with Johan Ullen on piano.
Other highlights still to come from the Queen's Hall Series include The Jerusalem Quartet and the Beaux Arts Trio.
To listen to the top picks of the Queen's Hall Series from some of the UK's most well known arts critics click here.
He writes: 'The performance, conducted by Gergiev at his molten best, is pulsatingly atmospheric and erotic...A phenomenal piece, played to the hilt by this great company.'
Dorian Gray also received five stars from The Metro and four stars from The Independent.
In The Metro it says: 'Performed by an outstanding cast...The only question is how can Bourne possibly top this.'
Zoe Anderson of The Independent writes: 'In a brilliantly creepy moment, Dorian takes his double's hand, resigned and almost tender...Although Bourne is a deft storyteller...his gift is for showing character through movement...The cast are terrific.'
For tickets to Dorian Gray click here.
For tickets to Król Roger click here.
Check out the video below for a just released preview of Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray.
25 August, 2008
The Hercule Poirot Award
The dance hit of this year's Featival came from Rosas 'with an awe-inspiring programme by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, set to the music of Steve Reich'.
The What The Papers Say Award
EIF productions hit the headlines for a variety of reasons during Festival 08. Some of the most notable stories were the sad death of Mahmoud Darwish, whose epic poem - penned after a near death experience - was staged just four days after his death. It also mentions the State Ballet of Georgia: 'Then, as Russian bombs fell on Georgia, prima ballerina Nina Ananiashvili hit town with Giselle but found herself talking about war, not art'. The 'extraordinary Anchiskhati Choir of Tbilisi' were also praised.
The Leonard Cohen Award
TR Warszawa's production of the dark Sarah Kane play and National Theatre of Scotland's 365 were mentioned in this category. 'Sarah Kane's never-knowingly-cheerful suicide poem, 4.48 Psychosis joined in as did the National Theatre of Scotland's 365, about the unhappy plight of children in care'.
The Noah's Ark Award
'Recipient: The Scottish weather. We Scots spend our lives rebutting the accusation that our country is anything other than a sun-kissed paradise. And then it goes and rains - an awful, awful lot.'
To read the full article click here.
Each year, after the Festival programme is announced, Herald critics visit a number of Edinburgh schools to talk to pupils about writing reviews. The students then attend a festival performance and submit reviews to a proper deadline, with the best one from each show appearing in The Herald alongside those of the professional writers. This year four young people - Eleanor Morton from Royal High, Scott Clair of Holyrood High, Kyna Bowers of Boroughmuir High, and Joanna Ramasawmy of Broughton High - have had their work published during the Festival. On Saturday, one will become the Herald's first Wee Cherub.
To read Joanna Ramasawmy's review of The Budapest Festival Orchestra click here.
To read Kyna Bowers' review of Mortal Engine click here.
To read Scott Clair's review of 4.48 Psychosis click here.
To read Eleanor Morton's review of The Tell-Tale Heart click here.
24 August, 2008
On a serious note, the play was received very well by the critics being awarded four stars by The Scotsman and The Herald. See post below for a more detailed analysis of the critics’ response. Festival Insider was there to speak to audience members after the opening night finished. To listen to what they had to say click here.
23 August, 2008
22 August, 2008
The Times carried a feature on The National Theatre of Scotland's latest offering 365. The feature was based around an interview with Vicky Featherstone and drew a comparison with past smash hits from the company. It also explained the extensive research that has gone on into the subject of practice flats and the inspirations behind the play. 365 opens tonight at The Edinburgh Playhouse and runs until Monday 25 August.
Many publications including The Times, The Herald and The Scotsman featured stories about the record breaking ticket sales of Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray. More than 11,000 tickets have been sold for the show which runs for eight nights (until Saturday 30 August) at The King's Theatre.
There were also a number of features and comment pieces on Valery Gergiev's decision to return to Ossetia to conduct a memorial requiem. He conducted the London Symphony Orchestra last week and on Sunday 24 August will conduct The Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra in Aleko: Semyon Kotko (Act III) at The Usher Hall.
In The Scotsman random awards, Class Enemy was given the title of Most Entertaining Swearing in an EIF show.
To view some TV footage from the BBC click on these links: Dorian Gray and Class Enemy.
‘This updating by Haris Pašović is subtle but significant.' The Guardian ****
‘a fascinating work-in-progress exploration...the production is illuminated by two or three magical performances.' The Scotsman ***
The Times ***
Mischa and Lily Maisky
‘Showing a maturity beyond her 21 years, Lily Maisky was an equal partner in a gritty and thrilling performance.' The Scotsman ****
The Herald ***
‘On full display was the sheer artistry that makes everything Brendel touches look so simple.' The Scotsman ****
‘Schubert's big B flat Sonata, which completed the programme, was one of his last, most moving and far-ranging masterpieces.' The Herald ****
‘This is a spiritual and metaphysical journey that seems almost the antithesis of thrilling theatre, yet it exerts a curiously strong hold.' The Independent ***
‘Few choirs could stand the scrutiny of this intimacy and few performances match those of the actors, with Roofthooft's in particular the best to be seen at this or any other festival.' The Herald *****
21 August, 2008
Last night, Wednesday 20 August, at the Usher Hall, Festival Director Jonathan Mills announced Sir Charles Mackerras as the new Honorary President of Edinburgh International Festival Society. To read Jonathan's full speech, click here.
Sir Charles was thanked for the wonderful performances he has brought Festival audiences over 56 years . His first appearance at the EIF dating back to 1952 at the Empire Theatre (now the Edinburgh Festival Theatre) with Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, conducting his own arrangement of Arthur Sullivan's Pineapple Poll. He returned in 1958 as Music Director for a season of 12 ballet premieres. In more recent years he is renowned for his performances at the Usher Hall with orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hanover Band, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Soloists who have shared the Festival platform with Mackerras include Christian Zacharias, Felicity Lott, Sarah Walker, Philip Langridge, John Williams, Bryn Terfel, Ian Bostridge, Lisa Milne and Simon Keenlyside. In 2006 Mackerras conducted the seminal series of Beethoven's Nine Symphonies.
Sir Charles Mackerras, Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society said: "I am absolutely delighted to be named as Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival Society. As a genuine Scotsman, it is a great honour to be given this position and to follow on in such distinguished footsteps. Since my debut at the Festival in 1952 it has always played a very important part of my musical life and to have a continuing relationship with the Festival is a great honour indeed."
20 August, 2008
Worried glances were exchanged. Did she like it? Did she want the bucket? Who knew?!
Then a smile.
Naturally, she loved it! And immediately identified it as a potential hangover cure - a fact that took us years to work out. Why stop when you're on a roll though? so...we're thinking buckfast tomorrow. This is not a hint for ticket hungry hacks by the way although she says you are welcome to try.
The spotlight shines on theatre today, as the papers interview writers / directors for new productions Class Enemy, 365 and I went to the house but did not enter. Today's Herald features an interview with Nigel Williams about his 1978 play Class Enemy, which has been adapted by Bosnian theatre company East West Theatre Company to be set in contemporary Sarajevo. Class Enemy opens tonight at the Royal Lyceum Theatre and runs through to Saturday 23 August. Three Weeks talks to Scottish playwright David Harrower today about the process of writing 365 - the latest production from The National Theatre of Scotland about child poverty in the UK. 365 makes its World Premiere at The Playhouse this Friday 22 August and runs through to Monday 25 August. The Daily Telegraph speaks with theatrical innovator Heiner Goebbels about his new music theatre piece I went to the house but did not enter and about how theatre should give you something ‘completely marvellous and completely inexplicable'. I went to the house opens at the Royal Lyceum Theatre on Thursday 28 and runs until Saturday 30 August. In the world of music, The Herald interviews mesmerising opera singer Christine Schäfer in anticipation of her Edinburgh Festival debut in Saturday's Queen's Hall recital. And The Independent previews the Pavel Haas Quartet who will perform work by Janacek and Prokofiev this Friday at The Queen's Hall.
Le roi David
‘Sylvia Bergé held us in thrall; very impressive' The Financial Times ****
‘Ingeniously orchestrated, daringly combined and, at its most tender, really rather moving' The Times ****
Susan Bullock / Malcolm Martineau
‘communicated with consummate artistry and range of expression' The Scotsman*****
‘This concert was in a class of its own. A flawless recital.' The Herald *****
The Monteverdi Choir / Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique
‘Choral singing of impeccable beauty' The Scotsman ***
‘a sophisticated and stimulating rendering of the play' Fest Mag ****
‘unquestionably impressive' Fest Mag ****
London Symphony Orchestra: Prokofiev
‘ phenomenal technical prowess and unfailing musicality' Evening News *****
19 August, 2008
Metro Life boasts a cover story on East West Theatre Company and an interview with Haris Pašović about directing plays while under siege from Serb forces in Sarajevo. Pašović's Festival 08 offering transports Nigel Williams' play, Class Enemy, set in South London in the late 1970s to post-war Sarajevo. Class Enemy opens at The Royal Lyceum Theatre tomorrow and runs through to Saturday 23 August.
See The Guardian's festival photos of the week taken by Murdoch Macleod - featuring Mortal Engine's amazing laser dance show - here. Metro gave Mortal Engine five stars today calling it ‘terrifying, beautiful, unique and absolutely unforgettable'. The Scotsman agreed, giving it four stars and calling it ‘Utterly captivating and, that most illusive of theatrical goals, utterly unique'. Mortal Engine closes tonight at The Edinburgh Playhouse, to hear what the audience thought of last night's performance, click here.
The Scotsman profiles New York duo Nancy Walsh and John Clancy, who present the first of two performances today at The Hub titled ‘Captain Overlord's Folly or the Fool's Revenge' as a result of winning the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival Award. For ticket info about these two limited ticket events, click here.
The Financial Times gave Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra's Prokofiev Seven Symphonies concerts five stars today. Gergiev returns to EIF next week to conduct the Mariinsky Opera Company in their staged opera Król Roger at The Festival Theatre.
There is also a feature story in The Australian (Australian National Broadsheet) with Jonathan Mills about programming EIF 08, click here to read it.
Steve Reich Evening
‘consistently commands, challenges, enlightens and uplifts' The Guardian *****
‘an electrifying performance by the leading Polish actress Magdalena Cielecka' The Times ****
‘a remarkable, powerful piece of work' The Financial Times ****
‘I have experienced one of the great joys of theatre; finding myself quite in love with a production, affected to the heart, without having noticed how or when it so won me over.' The Financial Times *****
Le Roi David
‘a rich panoply of emotions' The Scotsman ****
Leonidas Kavakos / Enrico Pace
‘intense intimacy' The Scotsman ****
‘a volatile tour de force' The Herald ****
Click here to read an article in The Scotsman titled 'Keeping the Show on the Road', interviewing the pair about bringing this show to Edinburgh.
18 August, 2008
Australian dance company Chunky Move made a splash in the papers with images from the UK premiere of this hi-tech, laser dance show Mortal Engine. The review in today's Herald read; ‘if the technology was impressive, the flesh and blood dancers were outstanding'. To hear a behind-the-scenes interview with the choreographer Gideon Obarzanek click here.
The hotly anticipated World Premiere of Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray graced the cover of Metro Life Festival today, featuring an interview with the London born choreographer, who leapt to fame with his all-male Swan Lake chorus, about adapting Oscar Wilde's classic to London, here and now. The Independent on Sunday profiled the lead dancer Richard Windsor about this, his sixth, Bourne show.
The Scotsman features an interview with German composer / director Heiner Goebbels about his EIF return with the World Premiere production I Went to the house but Did Not Enter, which collaborates with the Hilliard Ensemble - the British vocal chamber group renowned for its accomplishment in early and new music. This month's Classical Music magazine interviews The Hilliard Ensemble, about their new role as speaking, moving singing actors in avant-guardist Heiner Goebbels' latest production.
Yesterday's Scotland on Sunday peels back layers of the National Theatre of Scotland's latest World Premiere production 365 - which opens at The Playhouse this Friday - and interviews director Vicky Featherstone and three youngsters about how they overcame their tragic beginnings. The Sunday Times also focused on this, the latest from the team behind Black Watch and The Bacchae, interviewing the writer David Harrower.
Yesterday's Scotland on Sunday follows arts writer Mark Fisher and The Sunday Times arts writer Anna Burnside to Belgrade where they interview East West Theatre Company about their adaptation of Nigel Williams' play Class Enemy, which opens at the Royal Lyceum Theatre this Wednesday and runs through to Saturday.
Today's Independent interviews choreographer and artistic director of Israeli's Batsheva Dance Company, Ohad Naharin, about the upcoming EIF production Deca Dance 2008 which features the ‘greatest hits' of the company's past 18 years of contemporary dance productions.
Looking at Tazieh
‘One of the most magisterially brilliant works of art ever shown at the Edinburgh Festival; and the chance to see it is a privilege not to be missed' The Scotsman *****
‘this astonishing display of wordless poetry is a humbling portrait of culture at one with its sense of grief' The Herald ****
‘Exhaustive and fulfilling' The Scotsman *****
‘Here - in sound, rhythm, humanity and consistency of presentation -
they were keenly unified' The Herald ****
Roby Lakatos & Ensemble
‘Terrific stuff from a band that makes playing exceptional music seem as natural as breathing.' The Herald *****
‘hugely spirited performance' The Scotsman ****
‘Watching 4.48 Psychosis can be almost unbearably harrowing. But when it is staged as brilliantly as it is here, it also feels profound, moving - and unforgettable.' The Daily Telegraph
‘thrilling theatre' The Guardian****
17 August, 2008
**Update** click here to listen to the audience response to the opening night.
Response from a nameless EIF lass: 'I wish we had a taxi budget like theirs', to which came the reply, 'Any more taxi budgies and they wont have a taxi budget'.
16 August, 2008
While performers, producers and festival folk milled around the Festival Theatre at this morning's Herald Angel Awards, The Herald's Arts Editor Keith Bruce presented EIF with four Herald Angel awards. Our Festival Director (and fearless leader) Jonathan Mills collected an award on behalf of The State Ballet of Georgia for their spirited unforgettable productions of Giselle and Mixed Bill. Jonathan also accepted an Angel for programming the critically acclaimed Song and Civilisation choral music series at Greyfriar's Kirk. Another Angel went to Scottish Opera's for their witty opera production The Two Widows which closed on Tuesday this week. And the final shiny gold statue went to, the lead actress in TR Warszawa's Dybbuk and 4.48 Psychosis (now showing at the Kings Theatre), Magdalena Cielecka. Magdalena gracefully accepted an award on behalf of the hard-working young company from Poland. Her fresh smiling face, far removed from the gripping character on stage in last night's premiere of 4.48 Psychosis, drew smiles from the crowd. Though it was the young company causing a stir at the Traverse with their show 'Once and for all we're gonna tell you who we are so shut up and listen' who drew the biggest smiles at today's Angels. A young performer who accepted the prize gave a breezy thank you speech that included thanking 'God. And I'd like to thank my brother, not that he did anything'. Three members of the young company were spotted on their complementary Bank of Scotland Fireworks Concert fold out seats and binoculars outside the theatre post-ceremony. After the presentation, the crowd was treated to a performance from the African Chilren's Choir, who also took away an angel for their show in St Andrew's and St George's church in George St.
15 August, 2008
14 August, 2008
Psychosis, dir. Grzegorz Jarzyna from Vvoi on Vimeo.
On the second last night of the ballet company’s four night run at the Playhouse, audience members witnessed a moving moment. At the end of the show a group of young Russian fringe performers approached the stage and presented the Georgian dancers with flowers. This poignant act surely shows how art and artists can transcend all borders.
13 August, 2008
After romping their way through the initial high brow questions on such topics as Great Britons, Olympic Games flag colourings, famous Greek battlehorses and Wham! lyrics, it became clear that earlier (rebuffed) bribes of chocolate cake and money were not necessary for this band of closet quiz buffs. An impressive run of quickfire answers was halted momentarily by uncertainty over a water-based Robert Burns question (yes, that ol' chestnut) however keen to meet their next obstacles with the same vigour garnered by their earlier success, a tactical team decision was taken: they would return to the tricky conundrum at the end.
This proved to be the right choice for the eager quizmeisters and a further run of successful retorts ensured a very respectable score was reached - no mean feat as regular Sunday Post readers will know (for official scores you'll have to wait till Sunday).
With the pressure off, the team returned to the Burns song question which, no matter how wildly they guessed, ultimately left them in somewhat of a pickle. And in a pickle they remained (it was Afton Water by the way) before happily embracing the achievement of their past gains. With proud grins and a new found sense of triumph they returned to their respective desks. Read all about it in this week's Sunday Post folks.
The orchestra, with Dudamel at the helm, then undertook rehearsals (see picture below) in the hours before the show to perfect their performances. Reports filtering back to the press office from attendees suggest the audience were so enthusiastic in their appreciation of the show that raucous applause, cheering and sporadic standing ovations were witnessed in the stalls. Anyone would think it was a ceilidh!
Unfortunately for Edinburgh fans the sold out performance was for one night only and Gustavo Dudamel, with orchestra in tow, was whisked off to London for their next performance at the Royal Albert Halls.
12 August, 2008
Paul Meyer and Eric Le Sage made quite an impact with their Monday morning concert at the Queen’s Hall. The Scotsman gave the duo four stars for their approach to the Brahams, Martinu, Berg and Lutoslawski repertoire and The Herald was duly impressed with how they liberated the music from its formal structure, creating a ‘rhapsodic sense of flow’.
The Greyfriar’s Kirk ‘Songs of Civilization’ programme of choral music kicked off on Monday night with The Music of Buhurizade Mustafa Itri Efendi, The Herald’s Michael Tumelty found the concert ‘hypnotic, ritualistic and blatantly foot-tapping.’
On the theatre front, reviews keep pouring in for Dybbuk and The Tell-Tale Heart – which both wrapped up last night. The Daily Telegraph commended Jonathan Mill’s theatre programme this year calling Dybbuk ‘theatre that asks tough, profound questions’. The Polish company TR Warszawa will present Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis from this Friday through to Sunday at the King’s Theatre.
Metro gave The Tell-Tale Heart four stars today, commenting on the Australian production’s suspenseful interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous story. To hear our audience reviews of this production from opening night, click here.
The Financial Times gave Nina Ananiashvili’s Giselle five stars in today’s paper. The State Ballet of Georgia will perform their second EIF production tonight at the Playhouse, Mixed Bill. To hear our audience reviews of Giselle, click here.
The Metro talk about EIF pushing major artistic boundaries this year by presenting new work from some of the world’s most mind-bending arts practitioners.
There was also an obituary in the Financial Times today for Mahmoud Darwish – the Palestinian poet whose epic poem of life and death has been adapted for the EIF production Jidariyya. And a feature in The Herald on Jidariyya including an interview with director Amir Nizar Zuabi.