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Opera and Ayckbourn lead 2017 EIF line-up

Alan Ayckbourn will present a new two-part play at the Edinburgh International Festival
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Opera is the focus of this year’s 70th anniversary Edinburgh International Festival programme.

The programme, which was announced today, will also include the premiere of a new two-part play by Alan Ayckbourn and a series of works by Scottish companies celebrating the festival’s anniversary.

An expanded programme of operas will run across Edinburgh to mark the role that the art form played in the festival’s early years. This includes Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera Greek, an adaptation of a Steven Berkoff play, which will be directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins.

Bryn Terfel will be a soloist in Die Walkure, the second instalment of a four-year concert presentation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, conducted by Andrew Davis. Verdi’s Macbeth directed by Emma Dante and Puccini’s La Boheme directed by Alex Olle will run at the Festival Theatre from Italian company Teatro Regio Torino. Tenor Stuart Skelton will lead a concert performance of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes.

In theatre, the Old Vic will present a new play by Alan Ayckbourn called The Divide, set in a dystopian future. It will be directed by Annabel Bolton and will be split into two parts. A semi-staged reading of the work in 2015 lasted more than eight hours.

Four Scottish companies will take part in a special season for the festival’s 70th anniversary. The Citizens Theatre will present Oresteia: This Restless House by Zinnie Harris; an adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, which looks at the rise of fascism, will run at the Royal Lyceum Theatre; Traverse Theatre Company will premiere an original work called Meet Me at Dawn; Flight, adapted from the novel Hinterland by Caroline Brothers, will be presented by Vox Motus.

Elsewhere, Irish actor Barry McGovern will perform Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, directed by Michael Colgan, at the Churchill Theatre. The Festival Theatre’s studio will house Real Magic from Forced Entertainment and a residency from Turner Prize winner Martin Creed.

Dance company Nederlands Dans Theater will present a triple bill of contemporary work choreographed by Paul Lightfoot, Sol Leon and Gabriela Carrizo, set to music by Philip Glass and Max Richter. This will be the company’s first appearance at the festival for 11 years.

Rain from Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker will be set to Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, flamenco dancer Maria Pages will reimagine Bizet’s Carmen with Yo, Carmen and hip-hop company Boy Blue Entertainment bring their piece Blak Whyte Gray.

Festival director Fergus Linehan said: “In our 70th anniversary year, it feels more important than ever perhaps, that we celebrate the founding values of the International Festival and that through a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange, we ‘provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’ and to continue to welcome the world to our city.”

There will also be contemporary music featuring Jarvis Cocker, PJ Harvey and the Magnetic Fields, and classical offerings celebrating significant moments from the festival’s history, including conductor Valery Gergiev and violinist Joshua Bell.

The festival runs from August 4 to 28.

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