15 May, 2009

Your Ultimate Festival Experience

Image: Gelabert Azzopardi, Photo: Outumuro.

We’re running a competition to find the Ultmate Festival Experience at Edinburgh International Festival 2009!

Submit your Ultimate Festival Experience in 500 words or less and you’ll go in the draw to win a Festival 09 prize pack comprised of two CD box-sets of Handel's 'Acis and Galatea' Bach's 'Matthew Passion' (provided by Dunedin Consort who perform as part of our Bach at Greyfrairs series), a limited edition Festival 09 Edinburgh Toile cotton bag and a pair of tickets to the music recital event of your choice at Usher Hall or Queen's Hall (subject to ticket availability).

Email your entry along with the subject heading ‘Ultimate Festival Experience’ to marketing@eif.co.uk. The best entries and the winner will be posted here on our Festival Insider Blog.

To get you started, here is an example of an Ultimate Experience at Edinburgh International Festival 2009:

“Why not start your day with some breakfast in the New Town and take a stroll through Princes St Gardens. Next, make your way to the Queen’s Hall for one of the world’s leading classical music recitals from the likes of Hopkinson Smith or the Scottish Ensemble and Tenebrae.

After the performance, explore the cobblestoned streets of the Old Town on your way to the
Collective Gallery in Cockburn Street and the Talbot Rice Gallery at the University of Edinburgh to experience our visual arts exhibition, The Enlightenments.

Next, immerse yourself in the festive buzz of the Royal Mile and admire the city skyline from the top of Castlehill. Head to
The Hub, sit outside in the sun and grab a bite to eat or a drink from the café's delicious summer menu before joining one of our Conversations with Artists or Behind the Scenes talks and workshops led by the artists and companies such as Malcolm Martineau, Andreas Staier or Scottish Ballet.

In the late afternoon, why not head to the
King’s Theatre and catch one of the plays celebrating the works of Irish playwright Brian Friel in our Gate Theatre residency? Alternatively, experience an early evening concert at the ambient Greyfriars Kirk from ensembles such as the European Union Baroque Orchestra or the Dunedin Consort.

In the early evening treat yourself to a meal of fresh Scottish produce at The Hub or one of the many gourmet restaurants around Festival venues. After that experience some of the very best drama, dance, music or opera – the choice is yours! At the
Edinburgh Festival Theatre choose from opera such as Actus Tragicus from Staatsoper Stuttgart and Admeto, re di tessaglia or contemporary dance from Gelabert-Azzopardi Companiya de Dansa. At The Edinburgh Playhouse take your pick from works including Diaspora from TheatreWorks Singapore, The Return of Ulysses from the Royal Ballet of Flanders or New Work choreographed by Michael Clark.

There are also many evening theatre shows at the
Royal Lyceum Theatre including Rona Munro’s The Last Witch and symphonic concerts and recitals at the Usher Hall including soloists such as Sir Willard White and Bryn Terfel.

If you still haven’t satisfied your Festival craving by this stage of the day, head back to
The Hub for our Caledonia Sessions, a series of performances exploring the musical scene in Scotland in the 18th Century, and then have a pint of ale or a wee whiskey at a thriving Festival venue such as the Traverse Theatre.

Finally, collapse into bed and have sweet dreams about your Ultimate Festival Experience. Then wake up early and do it all again – the possibilities are endless!”

14 May, 2009

Festival artist award winners

Sir Charles Mackerras received the 2009 Critics' Award at the prestigious Classical BRIT Awards for his recording of Mozart Symphonies 38 - 41 with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Charles Mackerras will be conducting the SCO at Festival 09 on 26 August at the Usher Hall. For more info on the Classical BRIT award winners, click here.

Festival 08 conductor Valery Gergiev and soprano Susan Bullock also received accolades this week at the 20th Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards for live classical music. For more information on the RPS award winners, click here.

In her speech at the RPS award ceremony the Chair of Arts Council England Dame Liz Forgan advocated introducing children to major works of classical music at an early age with the statement: "Throwing children alive into a boiling vat of great music does them no harm at all!"

07 May, 2009

St Kilda Opera - Island of the Birdmen

In August 1930 the last remaining inhabitants of the island of St Kilda boarded an evacuation boat and set sail for the Scottish mainland. Almost eighty years on, the unique history and culture of the island is celebrated in a spectacular theatrical production.

The production includes traditional Gaelic song, contemporary music, acrobatics and multimedia, including a unique film shot on the island (pictured) by Keith Partridge, director of Touching the Void.

Check out the St Kilda MySpace page for background on the production and amazing pictures from Partridge's film here.
View the St Kilda world heritage site here.
For more info on this Festival 09 production and to purchase tickets click here.

06 May, 2009

Interview with Juliana Engberg, curator of The Enlightenments

Image: Tacita Dean, Presentation Sisters

We've just uploaded an interview with Juliana Engberg, curator of Festival 09's visual arts exhibition series, The Enlightenments.

Against a backdrop of Edinburgh and its philosophical history, the artworks that make up The Enlightenments offer contemporary observations on subjects including religion, philosophy, superstition, architecture, literature, natural history, the cosmos, scepticism, stoicism and social manners.
Stream the interview with Juliana here.

05 May, 2009

Optimism Sydney bound

Image: Optimism, Photo: Garth Oriander

Sydney Festival has announced that Malthouse Melbourne's Optimism, which appears at the Edinburgh International Festival in August, will then head to Sydney for performances in January 2010.

Based on Voltaire's Candide (1759), the witty satire has been transformed into a cutting commentary on the globalised world, with the "no worries" bravura of Australian swagger.

Optimism is brought to life by some of Australia's finest comic actors including Frank Woodley (pictured), who performed a successful solo show in the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is best known for his work as part of the comedic duo, Lano and Woodley.

For more info and to purchase tickets to Optimism click here.