BIG YEAR FOR EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND FESTIVAL AND TATTOO

There will be 160 performances of 111 different events at the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival (Aug.15 to Sept.5), once again offering a bewildering choice of opera, theatre, music and dance. Since it began in the late 1940s, it has been joined by a variety of other events, including the vast Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Aug.8-30); the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Aug.6-28); and international festivals of jazz and blues (July 25-Aug.3), film (Aug.13-24) and books (Aug.14-30).

Opera highlights include Hanover State Opera with three productions, and Opera North in “Orfeo ed Euridice”. Among theatre events are Paul Claudel’s “Le Soulierde Satin”, presented by the Centre Dramatique National Orleans-Loiret Centre in an 11-hour performance; Birmingham Repertory Theatre in “Celestina” by Fernando de Rojas; and the Berliner Ensemble in Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt”. The dance programme includes Ballet West USA, the Nikolais Dance Theatre, the Rambert Dance Company and the Akram Khan Dance Company.

The music events range from large-scale classical and choral concerts to chamber music, traditional Gaelic songs and contemporary music from around the world. Among the orchestras taking part are the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the BBC Scottish Symphony and the London Philharmonic. There is also a series of late-night dance, theatre and music events at various venues, with tickets costing only £5. Edinburgh International Festival tickets can be booked by calling 0131 473 2000. Website: www.eif.co.uk

The Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle promises to be one of the most spectacular ever, with performers from five continents including, for the first time, a dance troupe from Beijing accompanied by a 50-strong Chinese military band. Tickets are from £9.50 to £32.50, and 80 per cent of the 217,000 are already sold. Website: www.edintattoo.co.uk

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