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Edinburgh International Festival’s Digital Programme Offers Free Full-Length Performances for Global Audiences

Edinburgh International Festival’s Digital Programme Offers Free Full-Length Performances for Global Audiences

For the first time in its 74-year history, the Edinburgh International Festival offers audiences worldwide the opportunity to experience performances from the comfort of their own homes, with 18 full-length performances available to watch for free online. The world’s leading performing arts festival presents its digital programme in partnership with global investment brand abrdn

As part of the International Festival’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, many of the performances featured in the digital programme offer audio description, captioning or British Sign Language interpretation. Selected performances from the programme will also be broadcast, streamed or hosted on classical music radio stations BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and music streaming service Apple Music

The International Festival’s digital programme features newly commissioned dance works made for the digital experience as well as classical and contemporary music, opera, theatre and spoken word performances captured during the 2021 festival. The digital programme extends into October and November, providing a global platform for some of the world’s leading artists beyond the festival season.

Highlights include:

  • Nicola Benedetti alongside a specially selected ensemble in Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale (online from 26 August).
  • A new production of Ariadne auf Naxosconducted by Sir Andrew Davis with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and featuring German soprano Dorothea Röschmann (29 August).
  • A thrilling musical partnership between Argentinian-born cellist Sol Gabetta, fiery Hong Kong-born conductor Elim Chan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, with repertoire including Saint-Saëns’s First Cello Concerto and Beethoven’s First Symphony (25 November).
  • Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and Russian-born conductor Vasily Petrenko joining forces with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony (7 October). 
  • The Chineke! Orchestra, conducted by William Eddins, joined by mezzo soprano Andrea Baker for Judith Weir’s song cycle woman.life.song, which features texts from Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Clarissa Pinkola Estes (online from 22 August).
  • Acclaimed Edinburgh pianist Malcolm Martineau and friends celebrating the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth with a concert inspired by the poet’s famous verse (online from 15 August).
  • Writer and director Hannah Lavery leads an artistic response to the 2015 death in Scottish police custody of Sheku Bayoh in the National Theatre of Scotland’s Lament for Sheku Bayoh (online from 25 August). 

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival said:  “We are looking forward to reuniting artists and audiences once more in Edinburgh this summer, yet we appreciate that some people may not be able to join us in person this year. For the first time in the Festival’s history, we are delighted to offer an extensive programme of digital works for audiences across the UK and around the world to enjoy from home.

“We are hugely grateful to abrdn for supporting the At Home programme and helping us to offer these extraordinary full-length performances free of charge. We also look forward to working with broadcasters BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and Apple Music to share the experience of the Festival with a wider audience.”

UK Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “I’m hugely impressed by the extensive digital programme Edinburgh International Festival has put together with support from our Digital Accelerator Fund. We launched this fund to help Edinburgh’s Festivals build back better from the pandemic and, thanks to this funding, culture lovers from around the world can enjoy these events again.”

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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