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Edinburgh International Festival 2016 Announced! - Alan Cumming, Marin Alsop, Barry Humphries, John Tiffany's THE GLASS MENAGERIE and More; Aug. 29

Today Festival Director Fergus Linehan unveiled the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival programme. This year's International Festival runs from Friday 5 to Monday 29 August, welcoming 2,442 artists from 36 nations to perform in Scotland's capital city.

Fergus Linehan said: 'The International Festival is an invitation from the people of Scotland to people from all over the world to join us in an unparalleled celebration of creativity, virtuosity and originality. The calibre, ambition and passion of the artists and ensembles in this year's programme combined with Edinburgh's electric Festival atmosphere, will make for an unforgettable experience for newcomers and International Festival veterans alike.'

· Some of the world's greatest artists and ensembles perform at the International Festival in 2016

· Artists making their first appearance at the International Festival include Cecilia Bartoli, Youssou N'Dour, James Thierrée, Barry Humphries and Mogwai

· Major productions from two of the world's leading opera festivals, Salzburg Festpiele (Norma) and Festival d'Aix en Provence (Cosi fan tutte)

· An epic celebration of the start of the festival season, Deep Time is an animated artwork which will transform Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle

· Major classical music artists include Sir András Schiff, Maxim Vengerov, Daniil Trifonov, Mikhail Pletnev, Anja Kampe, Karen Cargill and Sir John Eliot Gardner

· Celebrated director John Tiffany returns to Scotland with the European premiere of his Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie

· The 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare is celebrated with events across the programme and international re-imaginings of three key plays

· Visits from world leading orchestras including the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra

· Scottish artists take centre stage in a series of concerts celebrating contemporary Scottish music

· The Hub plays host to a nightly house show hosted by Scottish stage and screen star Alan Cumming

· Events for families and young people, including two contrasting dance theatre works

Unveiling his second International Festival programme, Linehan revealed a rich mix of world-class artists and ensembles from across the performing arts, alongside a superb showcase of Scottish-based talent.

Major artists appearing in the programme include renowned Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, legendary Australian satirist Barry Humphries, revered conductor Herbert Blomstedt, Oscar-nominated singer ANOHNI, world-renowned ballerina Natalia Osipova, celebrated director John Tiffany, UK ensemble Cheek by Jowl, post-rock icons Sigur Rós, celebraTEd Scottish actor Alan Cumming, Edinburgh's own Mercury Prize-winners Young Fathers, leading conductor Marin Alsop, acclaimed pianist Daniil Trifonov, Senegal's most celebrated musician Youssou N'Dour and work by choreographer Crystal Pite.

The start of Edinburgh's festival season is celebrated with a free, public outdoor event at 10.30pm on Sunday 7 August. Deep Time is a digitally animated artwork using the iconic locations of Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock as the rugged canvas for projections and illuminations inspired by the city's past. The event explores 350 million years of Edinburgh history, uncovering the unique geology of a landscape formed by volcanic activity, while celebrating the intellectual legacy of the city and in particular James Hutton, the Edinburgh scientist and 'father of modern geology'. Hutton's work greatly contributed to the evidence-based academic revolution of the Scottish Enlightenment and shifted modern thinking about how the world was formed. Deep Time is set to a specially compiled soundtrack of music by Scottish rock band Mogwai and is produced by Tony-award winning 59 Productions, creators of the acclaimed Harmonium Project that launched Festival 2015. The University of Edinburgh also partner in the creation of the event, with academics from across the science, arts and humanities contributing. The event is free but ticketed, with full event and booking details released on 20 June. Fergus Linehan also named 59 Productions as Associate Artists of the International Festival for the next three years: '59 Productions have, time and again, created innovative and compelling work in the fields of music, theatre, opera, film and visual arts while pioneering the use of new technologies. We are delighted to be working with such a remarkable group of artists over the next three years.'

The world's foremost classical musicians gather once more in Edinburgh with 42 concerts and recitals in the Usher and Queen's halls. Visiting orchestras include the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra. Major soloists performing include pianist Daniil Trifonov, who gives three concerts throughout the International Festival, Sir András Schiff, Richard Goode, Maxim Vengerov and Mikhail Pletnev, as well as world-class singers including Anja Kampe, Karen Cargill, Stuart Skelton and Vitalij Kowaljow. On the podium, acclaimed conductors include Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Antonio Pappano, Yannick Nézét Seguin, Marin Alsop and Donald Runnicles. Outstanding choral moments bookend the Usher Hall opening and closing concerts, which feature theEdinburgh Festival Chorus performing Rossini's Stabat Mater and Schoenberg's rarely performed Gurrelieder.

Celebrated Director John Tiffany returns to Scotland with the European premiere of his production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, running at the King's Theatre for two weeks. Originally created with American Repertory Theatre in Boston, the show transferred to Broadway in 2013 to huge critical acclaim; Ben Brantley of the New York Times hailed Tiffany's 'stunning production... which promises to be the most revealing revival of a cornerstone classic for many a year to come.' The production stars Tony-award winning American stage and screen actor Cherry Jones as Amanda Wingfield. John Tiffany's Black Watch for the National Theatre of Scotland toured the world to universal acclaim and his Broadway production of the musical Once won eight Tony Awards. As Associate Director of the National Theatre of Scotland he directed The Bacchae at the 2007 International Festival. John is currently in rehearsals for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, opening in London's West End this summer, of which he is co-writer and director.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, whose work resonates throughout the programme. Three theatre companies present contrasting international perspectives on his work. Renowned theatre maker Thomas Ostermeier returns to the International Festival with a reworking of Richard III in a critically acclaimed production from Berlin's Schaubühne Theatre; Cheek by Jowl, led by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, unites with Moscow's Pushkin Theatre for their International Festival debuts with Measure for Measure, a compelling production which draws parallels with modern Russia. British-born director Dan Jemmett and his French-based company Eat a Crocodile bring Shake, a five-piece re-imagining of Twelfth Night. The Bard's influence also extends through the classical music programme with Shakespearean-inspired music from Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Berlioz, Strauss and Tchaikovsky in concerts at the Usher and Queen's halls.

A special concert series celebrates the remarkable reach and international success of Scottish contemporary music. From post-punk to post-rock, art-school infused pop, Scots traditional and modern folk, electronica and hip hop - with some events fusing music with film and animation - these concerts shine a light on the unique character of modern Scottish music and the artists working within it. The line-up includes Lau's Martin Green working with collaborators from Portishead, The Unthanks and Mogwai in the world premiere of Flit, Greg Lawson's monumental reworking of Martyn Bennett's masterpiece Grit which was originally commissioned by and premiered at Celtic Connections, Edinburgh's Mercury Prize winning Young Fathers, Glasgow electronic artist Hudson Mohawke's production work with ANOHNI and Oneohtrix Point Never, the world premiere of Wind Resistance from folk singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, documentary Where You're Meant To Be with live performance from Aidan Moffat, Scottish rock band Mogwai with a live performance of new album Atomic, the folk, jazz and classical Indian fusion ofYorkston/Thorne/Khan and a special performance from post-punk pioneer Emma Pollock. This series is supported by the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

The home of the International Festival, The Hub, will be the venue for a nightly house show which runs throughout August, as well as hosting seven intimate concerts. One of Scotland's best-loved artists Alan Cumming takes up residence over three weeks and 20 performances, with his cabaret show, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs! Alan dispenses seductive songs and intimate stories featuring very personal reinterpretations of the songs he loves to sing.

The International Festival continues to programme work for young people and families, including two contrasting dance pieces. Fusing dance, storytelling and interactive animation, Chotto Desh is the first family show created byAkram Khan, reworked from his Olivier Award-winning autobiographical solo show DESH. Raw is a dynamic and gritty dance theatre work from Belgium's Kabinet K, made by young people for young people. The International Festival also continues to offer great value for young ticket buyers aged 18 and under, with a discount of 50% available on selected events from the opening of ticket sales. Students in full time education are entitled to a discount of30% from 6 July onwards, with £8 tickets available for those aged 26 and under, on the day of performance. The International Festival's year-round work with young people includes a three-year residency at Castlebrae Community High School, now in its second year, with workshops and events as well as a bespoke mentoring and work experience programme. This summer includes a visit from International Festival artist Alan Cumming, to talk about his life as a performer and actor to pupils and staff at Castlebrae.

Edinburgh's summer festival season will again be brought to a spectacular conclusion on Monday 29 August with the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert. Over 400,000 fireworks will burst into the sky above Edinburgh Castle, choreographed to live music from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Estonian conductor Kristiina Poska, continuing 2016's Shakespearean celebrations with two interpretations of his best known love story, Prokofiev'sRomeo and Juliet and the Symphonic Dances from Bernstein's classic West Side Story. Ahead of the Fireworks Concert, there will also be a Schools Concert taking place at the Ross Theatre in Princes St Gardens on the morning of Monday 29 August, with school children invited from across Edinburgh to hear live music from SCO VIBE, a fusion orchestra open to young musicians aged 11-18.

Festival 2016

Opera in 2016 sees staged productions from two of Europe's leading arts festivals. The Salzburg Festival's internationally acclaimed reimagining of Bellini's Norma, stars world-renowned mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli in the title role and opens the International Festival programme. Film and stage director Christophe Honoré brings a new production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, direct from the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, in co-production with Opéra de Lille and Edinburgh International Festival, with the Cape Town Opera Chorus and Freiburger Barockorchester. Opera in concert at the Usher Hall features the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev with Wagner's Das Rheingold, the first of four concert performances of the operas which make up the epic Ring Cycle, performed by a series of internationally acclaimed orchestras and singers over four International Festivals from 2016 to 2019.

Dance this year brings more big names to Edinburgh. The International Festival has co-produced the revival of seminal dance work monumental, which brings together two of Canada's most uncompromising performing arts groups, contemporary dance group The Holy Body Tattoo and post-rock pioneers Godspeed You! Black Emperor. First created in 2005, the piece originally featured nine dancers performing to a recording by the band. In 2016 the band features live on stage, bringing a new visceral energy to the piece. Godspeed You! Black Emperor also play a one-off gig at The Playhouse as part of their visit. Multi award-winning Russian ballerina Natalia Osipovamoves from classical to contemporary as she and her company of dancers - including Ukrainian ballet star Sergei Polunin - perform three brand new dance works created for her by choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and Arthur Pita. Scottish Ballet returns to the International Festival with a double bill of major contemporary dance works from internationally acclaimed choreographers Crystal Pite and Angelin Preljocaj, Emergenceand MC 14/22 (Ceci est mon corps).

In theatre, John Tiffany's version of American classic The Glass Menagerie, a major hit on Broadway, comes to the King's Theatre for a two week run. The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death is marked with three internationally acclaimed productions - Measure for Measure from Declan Donnellan's Cheek by Jowl and Moscow's Pushkin Theatre, Thomas Ostermeier and the Schaubühne Theatre's Richard III and Shake - a re-imagining of Twelfth Night from director Dan Jemmett. New work is showcased with a world premiere from National Theatre of Scotland and The TEAM with Anything That Gives Off Light, and a new commission The Toad Knew from multifaceted creator and performer James Thierrée and Compagnie du Hanneton. The International Festival also continues to showcase successful Scottish work for an International audience, with two special Festival revivals from theatre company Vanishing Point, which re-mounts Interiors and The Destroyed Room.

In classical music, visits from world-leading orchestras include the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with conductor Sir Antonio Pappano, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with Yannick Nézét Seguin, the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä and the Russian National Orchestra with conductor Kirill Karabits. Major soloists performing include the precociously talented young pianist Daniil Trifonov, Sir András Schiff, Maxim Vengerov and Mikhail Pletnev, as well as world-class singers including Anja Kampe, Karen Cargill, Stuart Skelton, Danielle De Niese and Vitalij Kowaljow. On the podium, acclaimed American conductor Marin Alsop makes her International Festival debut with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Edinburgh-born Donald Runnicles performs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra for the very last time as their Principal Conductor. The BBC SSO also performs with conductor Matthias Pintscher in a Festival celebration of the late Pierre Boulez. This very special event celebrates his 56-year relationship with the International Festival as one of its closest and most cherished contributors. Outstanding choral moments bookend the Usher Hall in the opening and closing concerts, which feature the Edinburgh Festival Chorus performing Rossini's Stabat Mater and Schoenberg's rarely performed Gurrelieder. In between, audiences can enjoy Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir performing Bach's St Matthew Passion; the might of Elgar's The Apostles performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra with conductor Edward Gardner and an outstanding cast featuring Karen Cargill and the superb voices of the NYCoS National Girls Choir; and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra performing Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette under the baton of its Principal Conductor Robin Ticciati, with mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená. Both the Usher and Queens' hall programmes include a number of the world's leading pianists. Mikhail Pletnev steps away from the conductor's podium to appear with the Russian National Orchestra, Boris Berezovsky plays Rachmaninov with theOrchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in their second concert, Sir András Schiff joins the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig with a programme of Beethoven and Mendelssohn, Stephen Hough and Richard Goode return to The Queen's Hall in recital, and young American piano prodigy George Li makes his International Festival debut. Daniil Trifonov gives three concerts: a recital featuring Liszt and Rachmaninov in The Usher Hall; Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 1 with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Daniel Harding, and a Queen's Hall double-bill of Rachmaninov featuring a special ensemble of players which includes his own teacher Sergei Babayan. The 2016 programme also features a concert in Greyfriars Kirk, where the Hebrides Ensemble and tenor Christian Elsner perform Hans Zender's remarkable transformation of Schubert'sWinterreise for voice and ensemble.

Music from the early 20th century, including jazz, chanson and cabaret performance, is showcased across the programme, featuring songs drawn from Weimer Germany, Belle Époque Paris and down-town New York. Legendary Australian performer Barry Humphries leads an evening of music from the time of the Weimar Republic, joined by cabaret star Meow Meow and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In The Queen's Hall series, baritone Simon Keenlyside performs music from the early 20th century featuring works by Gershwin, Berlin, Weill and Kern, whilst French soprano Patricia Petibon explores Belle Époque Paris through song, chanson and piano music by Satie, Poulenc, Fauré, Hahn, Bernstein and Gershwin amongst others. And at The Hub, Alan Cumming hosts his cabaret residency throughout August, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs!

The 2016 International Festival builds on the contemporary music programme of last year. Legendary Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour returns to the UK to perform at the Usher Hall; Canadian post-rock band God Speed You! Black Emperor play a one-off concert as well as providing the live soundtrack to dance piece monumental; Icelandic superstars Sigur Rós play two nights at the International Festival in a rare visit to the Scotland; and multi-instrumentalist and composer Yann Tiersen - best known for his soundtrack to the hit film Amelie - performs two intimate concerts at The Hub.

Following the success of 2015's project Fanfare, the International Festival extends its programme across the city by inviting Edinburgh to get singing. Songlines is a citywide celebration of shared song taking place throughout the day on Sunday 21 August with opportunities to join in or simply enjoy listening to communal singing in unexpected places. Further information about venues, timings and songs included will be released in July.

Festival Insights this year include a special event commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising and independence struggle in Ireland. Before the Hudson and the Liffey explores the life of James Connolly, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, but also an Edinburgh man. This special event brings together actors, musicians and commentators for reflections on his life.

For a second year, the International Festival partners with BBC Arts online to present Artists Conversations, streamed live online and later available to a wider audience through BBC iPlayer. Free tickets are available to each event, which are recorded in front of a studio audience. Featured artists and booking details are announced in July. In the meantime, the 2015 Artist Conversations are still available online, where you can join Sylvie Guillem, Juliette Binoche, Simon McBurney and Robert Lepage in conversation from last year's Festival.

The International Festival is one of the world's largest and most diverse curated festivals, as well as one of the most accessible, offering a range of discounts and affordable entry price tickets. The International Festival continues to attract people from across the globe, expecting its audiences to travel from around 70 nations this year to be part of the global cultural celebration in Edinburgh.

In 2016, this celebration includes the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, a biennial event that brings together culture ministers, artists, thinkers and arts leaders from around the world. The theme of Summit 2016 is Culture: Building Resilient Communities, highlighting the vital role that culture plays in the life of any successful community. Artists taking part include 2016 International Festival artist Youssou N'Dour, a former Minister for Culture in his native Senegal.

Leonie Bell, Director of Arts at Creative Scotland said: 'The 2016 programme for the Edinburgh International Festival is an exciting mix of the classical and the contemporary, when artists and audiences from Scotland and the world will come together across venues and sites throughout Edinburgh to share in a magnificent 3 weeks, filled with dance, music, opera and theatre.

'Through its commitment to programming the very best of the world's performing arts, Edinburgh International Festival continues to act as a powerful contributor to the cultural, social and economic life of the City of Edinburgh and its status as a global city through bringing international talent of the highest calibre and renown to local audiences and visitors in Scotland, and showcasing home grown artistic talent to the world.'

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh's Festivals and Events Champion, said: 'The ongoing success of the Edinburgh International Festival speaks for itself and in 2016 audiences can look forward to an incredibly varied mix of performances. By celebrating art in all its forms, the International Festival opens up the world of culture to thousands. This year, the event will continue to create new audiences by working with the city's schools and our communities while offering the most ardent festival-goer something new.

'Following last year's beautiful Harmonium Project at the Usher Hall, this year's opening event will yet again wow audiences. Celebrating 350 million years of Edinburgh's history and set to a soundtrack by Scotland's own Mogwai,Deep Time at Edinburgh Castle will be a phenomenal, free experience to be enjoyed by all.'

Tickets for all events at the International Festival go on sale on Saturday 16 April at 10am, unless signed up for priority booking which opens on Wednesday 6 April at 10am.

Check out the promo video below!



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