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First week round up

It’s been a week since the 2017 International Festival started, and what a week that was! We've already had some epic moments, including an unforgettable performance of Die Walküre, two PJ Harvey concerts, a few world premieres of theatre works, and there's still so much more to come. Let’s revisit some of those incredible events in this round-up of the first week of the International Festival.

The Standard Life Event Opening: Bloom

Two nights of the epic projections and music celebrating the 70 years anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival and the Festival City. Beautiful images and videos you captured have been popping up on social media using #EdinBloom ever since. We collated some those moments in one place, take a look below:


The Opening Concert at the Usher Hall was Pablo Herras-Casado conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the International Festival Chorus which ‘has never sounded so magnificent’ (Classical Source) and made it ‘impossible not be swept by [it]’ (4* The Herald).

Unquestionably, one of the biggest highlights so far was the 'triumphant concert performance' (5* The Scotsman) of Die Walküre where Sir Andrew Davis conducted the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and a stellar cast of world-renowned soloists. We’ve fallen in love with them all the same way you did and we expressed it in this very special blog post.

Die Walkure curtain call

The cast ensemble in the “razor-sharp” (5* The Times) new staging of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera Greek was universally praised, in particular with a focus on Alex Otterburn in the central role of Eddy (5* The Herald, 4* The Guardian).

Contemporary music events inspired equally passionate responses. PJ Harvey performance was 'in intent and execution, a more or less perfect show' (5* The Independent) and everyone seemed to be transported into the world the legendary artist created onstage. It was ‘a privilege to meet this sonic juggernaut once again’ (5* The Scotsman).

Greek / PJ Harvey


A range of very different theatre productions have opened in the last few days.  The world premiere of Zinnie Harris’s adaption of Rhinoceros ‘makes the most of the play's sharp, humorous writing and astutely shows that Ionesco's message is now as relevant as ever' (5* The List). This Scottish-Turkish co-production ‘not only captures the moment, but takes full possession of it, and slams it straight through the goalposts of the time we live in' (5* The Scotsman). As an audience member said on Twitter: ‘Go! Get a good seat, laugh, and then leave hoping you're not a rhino...!' (@Camrie_Palmer).

Just next door in Traverse Theatre you could see a brand new play from Harris directed by Orla O’Loughlin. Meet Me at Dawn is 'symphony of loss, longing, and occasional wild comedy' (4* The Scotsman) or simply ‘mesmerising, heart wrenching, wonderful theatre’ (@lizsadler21).

Rhinoceros / Meet Me at Dawn

At the same time, at Church Hill Theatre a couple of intimate theatre works unfold. Barry McGovern, 'arguably the greatest living male performer of Beckett's work' (5* The Herald), performs in Krapp’s Last Tape which, in a nutshell, is ‘masterfully done’ (4* The Times).

In the same venue, you could also embark on an immersive journey of two brothers as they flee from Afghanistan across Europe. 'Flight tells its tale with a passion reflected in every detail of its tiny artworks' (4* The Scotsman) creating this ‘technically brilliant and utterly enveloping and immersive installation’ (5* Edinburgh Guide). BBC Scotland’s Pauline McLean said on her Twitter: 'Beautiful and poignant. A hugely original take on just one of many stories of flight across Europe. Left me speechless. Go see.' (@BBCPollieMac).

Many of you have already joined Meow Meow for a fabulous night out at our home at The Hub. Film director Mark Cousins said Meow Meow’s Little Mermaid ‘is so entertaining that it's taken me until 3am to come down from it' (@markcousinsfilm). It is ‘a perfect combination of sass, laughs, and velvet vocals while indulging the ambience of late night decadent entertainment’ (5* Edinburgh Guide).  And a note to the sceptics: 'those of us who thought the fizz had gone out of post-modernism were wrong' (4* The Herald).

Krapp's Last Tape / Flight / Meow Meow's Little Mermaid

Spirit of ‘47

The programme co-curated with British Council started with the Royal Court ‘New and Now’ play readings and much-loved MINEFIELD tackling ‘subtle and not so subtle truths. Really pleased we went (whole family! 3 generations)’ (@fionabradleyx).

Another night-time International Festival encounters take place at The Studio where Martin Creed ‘ has created a world of his own here, and those who love his work will relish the chance to step into it' (4* The List). Wonder what this evening is like? 'It’s endearing, exposing, ticklish and so totally unassuming that it’s hard to resist. Creed makes us feel like welcome guests' (4* The Guardian). ‘Brightened my night no end last night. What a generous performer (in a very idiosyncratic way) Martin Creed is!’ (@IainFruitmarket).

BBC Arts Digital are collaborating with us, making many of the events from Spirit of ’47 available live and on demand to a global audience online. Take a look here to revisit some of the past events and join us for the future ones.

Martin Creed's Words and Music / MINEFIELF

The Queen’s Hall concerts

We’ve already had a chance to listen to a few beautiful, intimate recitals at the Queen’s Hall. Edinburgh’s own Dunedin Consort ‘could not have started [the International Festival programme] in a better way’ (5* The Herald). The following recital by Christian Tetzlaff & Leif Ove Andsnes charmed with 'their truly collaborative musical language was one which spoke with direct humanity to connect with the audience on a seldom experienced, deep, emotional level' (5* The Scotsman). Polish ensemble Apollon Musagète Quartet ‘radiated with expansive, vivid playing’ (4* The Scotsman) and Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev played ‘a concert as near to perfection as you are likely to hear’ (5* The Herald).

BBC Radio 3 broadcast the morning recitals, so if you’ve missed any you can listen to them on demand.

More to come

Phew! So much has happened and there’s over two more weeks to come. Share your thoughts on the International Festival events you’re attending by using #EdintFest online. We love hearing from you!

Photo credits:
Meow Meow's Little Mermaid © Pia Johnson
MINEFIELD © Tristram Kenton
All other photos © Beth Chalmers | 2017 International Festival Photographer

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