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News

20 Mar 2005

Edinburgh International Festival — 2005
Gets Off to a Rough Start

THE ALARM BELLS SOUNDED A FEW weeks ago when Edinburgh International Festival director Brian McMaster put out the plea for a rescue package. Not only were there to be no late-night £5 concerts at this year’s festival – a series he has always said is politically desirable but financially extravagant – but he needed an additional six-figure sum simply to make the bare bones break even. That, essentially, is what he has given us in this year’s music programme – one main evening concert a night, three staged operas, and the usual daily diet of Queen’s Hall midday recitals.

Hijack opera in Edinburgh line-up

A controversial opera about terrorism is one of the highlights at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.

[BBC News, 17 Mar 05]

Scottish Opera will perform The Death of Klinghoffer - a work inspired by the 1984 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.

The festival - which runs from 14 August to 4 September - will feature music, drama, ballet and music from around the globe.

Click here for remainder of article.


Curtain rises on feast of Festival attractions

BRIAN FERGUSON [The Scotsman, 17 Mar 05]

Highlights include
* Nuts CocoNuts, an English-language version of Jordi Milan's Spanish hit
* The works of Irish playwright JM Synge performed in a single day
* Scottish Opera's The Death of Klinghoffer, based on a cruise ship hijacking murder;
* Blackbird, a "darkly intense" new play by Scot David Harrower;
* Swan Lake, touted as the pick of the dance programme;
* The BBC SSO's opening gala performance of Verdi's Requiem

Key quote:
"Commissioning and creating our own work, and bringing together international artists and companies to work in new ways, ensures that the Festival remains the essential destination for everyone interested in the arts, whether from Tokyo, Los Angeles, or just around the corner." Brian McMaster, festival director.

Click here for remainder of article.


Classical parings

KENNETH WALTON [The Scotsman, 19 Mar 05]

THE ALARM BELLS SOUNDED A FEW weeks ago when Edinburgh International Festival director Brian McMaster put out the plea for a rescue package. Not only were there to be no late-night #5 concerts at this year's festival - a series he has always said is politically desirable but financially extravagant - but he needed an additional six-figure sum simply to make the bare bones break even. That, essentially, is what he has given us in this year's music programme - one main evening concert a night, three staged operas, and the usual daily diet of Queen's Hall midday recitals.

If quantity was the benchmark, there might be something to complain about. After all, this formula takes us back almost a decade, to the days before McMaster added distinctive flavouring to the festive menu: first, with early evening aperitifs (the Wolf Lieder series, for example) and occasional late-night cocktails; then such geographically exciting picnics as the walkabout "Music of the Millennium" or "Organs of Edinburgh" series; then, finally, the fixed-price five-pounders that have transformed the past two festivals with their offbeat programming and younger appeal.

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