28 August, 2010

Festival Director, Jonathan Mills

Festival Director, Jonathan Mills shares his favourite Festival moments so far and gives his recommendations for the final week.

We’re nearing the end of the second wave now.

I had a fantastic night this week with the Gospel at Colonus cast at Giulianos, it is a great place to hang out after performances and there was an amazing atmosphere with such a huge cast filling the restaurant. It was like Harlem had come to Leith. There was a lot of joy in those performances, it was great to see the effect it had on audiences.

I had a wonderful encounter with Carmen Romero, Director of the Santiago Festival, this week. We saw Sin Sangre together in Santiago two years ago, and actually the last time I saw her was with Pina Bausch, which was also the last time I saw Pina. The audience at last night’s opening of Agua absolutely loved it, it is an incredibly fun piece.

It has been great to have the constant presence of Gunther Schuller and his idea of moving from one dimension of his career with Ives and Rhapsodies in Blue into a completely different genre, replicating his life in New York in the 50s. He told me the other evening that in the 50s New York had 127 jazz clubs, now it has just 7 and a half.

We are about to enter the final week of performances and there will be a massive influx of Australians with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia. I am looking forward to welcoming them to the Festival and to Edinburgh and showing them something of the city. Get yourself to see Bliss this week, it is a fabulous opera, stunningly staged. If you are a fan of Kronos, or Meredith Monk, or a little adventurous with your cultural experiences then this is unmissable.

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