Edinburgh International Festival announces 2022 program

From August 5-28, 2022, the Edinburgh International Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary and 75 years of bringing the world’s cultures together, with a program defined by international partnerships and bold collaborations that span continents, generations and genres. Returning to Edinburgh’s theaters and concert halls on a scale not seen since 2019, 14 venues are hosting 87 events and over 160 performances by over 2,300 artists – once again making Edinburgh a global celebration of world-class music, opera, dance and theatre. This year is also Fergus Linehan’s last as festival director before Nicola Benedetti takes over in October 2022.

The 2022 International Festival is also piloting a number of artistic residencies as part of ongoing work to make the event more sustainable by reducing the number of trips required.

Program highlights include:

  • MACRO – a spectacular, free opening event at BT Murrayfield featuring the power of Australian contemporary circus Gravity & Other Myths, First Nations dance company Djuki Mala, the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Scottish musicians including Aidan O ‘Rourke, Brìghde Chaimbeul and Kathleen MacInnes. Further details on this event will be announced on June 27.
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in residence at the International Festival through four concerts: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Angel Blue, Karen Cargill and the Edinburgh Festival Choir, the Florence First Symphony Price, chamber works by Mozart and a special free concert afternoon to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Festival.
  • Internationaal Theater Amsterdam in residence at the Edinburgh International Festival with two epic performances from the company’s repertoire – the UK premiere of A Little Life based on the novel by Hanya Yanagihara and an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain. These sit alongside a new adaptation of The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis by Toneelschuur Producties.
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra residency includes an orchestral concert with South Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, a Fidelio concert conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles, a chamber recital and three performances of Dvořák’s Rusalka from the Garsington Opera House.
  • The largest program of Australian artists in the International Festival’s 75-year history, as part of the UK/Australia season. Performances include the Australian World Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta; Gravity and Other Myths in MACRO and The Pulse; the European premiere of You Know We Belong Together by Julia Hales; a history of post-independence Sri Lanka and Australia as an immigrant nation in Counting and Cracking by S. Shakthidharan; didgeridoo player William Barton with the Chineke! Bedroom set; and violist Brett Dean performs with the Hebrides Ensemble.
  • A new production of Dvořák’s most beloved opera, the dark fairy tale Rusalka, with Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw in the title role. It is also conducted by Douglas Boyd, artistic director of the Garsington Opera and performed with one of the resident orchestras of the 2022 International Festival, the Philharmonia Orchestra.
  • The world premiere of Scottish Ballet’s Coppélia, reimagined for the digital age by British choreographers Jess and Morgs with a mix of location and real-time filming, projection and live performance. Delibes’ original score is re-imagined as part of a new composition by Mikael Karlsson and Michael P. Atkinson, performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.
  • A contemporary music program featuring jazz legend Herbie Hancock in his International Festival debut; Squarepusher, electronic artist pushing the limits; Princess Nokia, Afro-Puerto Rican rapper born in New York; spoken word artist Kae Tempest; Detroit techno icon Jeff Mills; Scottish duo Arab Strap; Romanian folk supergroup Taraf De Caliu; and the fascinating American singer-songwriter Ezra Furman.
  • A contemporary dance program featuring Akram Khan’s new Jungle Book Reimagined which reimagines Mowgli’s journey through the eyes of a climate refugee; the UK premiere of Kyle Abraham’s An Untitled Love set to music by R&B legend D’Angelo; and Samsara by the Aakash Odedra Company, which draws on Western, Indian and Chinese dance traditions.
  • Muster Station: Leith – a new immersive walking spectacle created by multi-award winning theater company Grid Iron to mark the culmination of the International Festival’s four-year residency at Leith Academy.
  • Europe’s greatest orchestras return to Usher Hall in Edinburgh, including: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Les Siècles, Hespèrion XXI, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra with the world premiere of Precipice Dances by Daniel Kidane.
  • Intimate morning recitals at Queen’s Hall featuring piano maestros Bruce Liu, Ronald Brautigam, Malcolm Martineau and Steven Osborne; vocal recitals by singers like Anne Sofie Von Otter, Golda Schultz and Florian Boesch; and chamber music by Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, Takács Quartet and more.
  • The National Theater of Scotland’s return to the International Festival with Alan Cumming in his first solo dance theater Burn, inspired by the life of Robert Burns, and Liz Lochhead’s powerful adaptation of Medea with Adura Onashile in the title role and setting Directed by Michael Boyd.
  • Refuge, a season of contemporary theatre, dance, visual art, film and conversation, created in collaboration with the Scottish Refugee Council to explore themes of refugee status, migration, identity and ‘inclusion.
  • Dreamachine, part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, is a powerful immersive experience using light and sound to explore the potential of the human mind, taking place at Murrayfield Ice Rink, Edinburgh. Created by Collective Act, it brings together Turner Assemble Award-winning artists, Grammy and Mercury-nominated composer Jon Hopkins, and a team of leading technologists, scientists, and philosophers.

As part of the International Festival’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, the 2022 program includes audio-described, subtitled and performed performances in British Sign Language, tactile tours, laid-back performances and free tickets to classical music concerts for more than 250 young people.

Backed by global investment brand abrdn, the International Festival’s digital programme, At Home, will feature behind-the-scenes interviews, exclusive music sessions and performances filmed at iconic Edinburgh locations. Full details will be announced over the summer.

General reservations for the 2022 International Festival open on Friday, April 8.

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival, said:

“2022 is a special year for the Festival. We hope it will mark a turning point in the pandemic that has turned all of our lives upside down for the past two years. It’s our 75th anniversary and an opportunity to pay tribute to our first artistic director. , Rudolph Bing, a war refugee in Europe. And this is my last year as director of the festival as we pass the reins to a new generation. Edinburgh is more than a collection of performances, it’s the great annual meeting point for artists and anyone who loves music, theatre, dance and literature. We hope you will join us once again for this unmissable party.”

Culture Minister Neil Gray said:

“We are delighted to support the Edinburgh International Festival as it celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Established after World War II to unite people of different cultures through the arts, the festival’s raison d’être is all as relevant today as it was in 1947.

“As Ukraine’s Minister for Refugees, I am delighted to see the themes of refugee status, migration and inclusion in this year’s program. In particular, I look forward to the exploration of human displacement and migration by Grid Iron theater in their immersive production of Muster Station: Leith which received funding through our Festivals Expo Fund.

“This will also be director Fergus Linehan’s last festival, and I would like to pay tribute to his varied and inspiring programs over the past eight years.”

Councilor Donald Wilson, Head of Culture and Communities for Edinburgh, said:

“The City’s International Festival returns with a bang with an exciting celebration of artists and companies from Scotland and around the world.

“This is a very special year for the festival, not only will it see a full program of delights and exciting encounters, but it will also mark its 75th year and Fergus Linehan’s final contribution as festival director. For the past seven years, Mr Linehan has worked through an exceptional era of social freedom and challenge to curate an intimate yet international festival program reaching partners all over the world bringing exceptional talent to Edinburgh, alongside companies and Scottish artists. I am sure 2022 will see its crowning glory in delivering a renewed festival to Edinburgh and the world.”

Ian Munro, Managing Director of Creative Scotland, said:

“Congratulations to Fergus and the Edinburgh International Festival team for an outstanding program at its last festival. Spanning continents, generations and genres, the 75th anniversary program represents a momentous moment, bringing people together to celebrate creativity through inspiring programming of world-class music, opera, dance and theater.75 years after the Festival was founded in the shadow of World War II, we find ourselves looking to culture to lift our spirits and inspire in uncertain and challenging times. We also welcome Nicola Benedetti as the new Festival Director and I look forward to working with her in the years to come to ensure the continued success of the Festival.”

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