Beethoven in space, Berg in the jazz clubs of the Deep South and Dido meets Bluebeard are just some of quirky delights on offer at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.
Unveiling a line-up that is not as theme-focused as in previous years, festival director Jonathan Mills said the 2013 festival will instead explore how technology has shifted artists’ perceptions of the world. ‘It’s about the relationships between art and technology from a historical perspective: Broadwood having the ingenuity to put metal in a piano, Mozart’s curiosity about glass harmonicas. Someone has an idea and the light goes on.’
That ‘lightbulb’ moment is used to view masterpieces through the contemporary prism of new technology. Therefore Opéra de Lyon’s production of Beethoven’s Fidelio takes place on board a spaceship in a world where rendition rules and habeas corpus has been suspended. In Scottish Opera and The Opera Group’s American Lulu, Berg’s unfinished opera is reworked by Olga Neuwirth and relocated to the 1950s civil rights movement, while Oper Frankfurt’s Purcell/Bartók double bill juxtaposes ill-fated couples Dido and Aeneas with Judith and Bluebeard.
Philip Glass will collaborate with Patti Smith to pay homage to poet Allen Ginsberg while his ensemble performs live his score for Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et la Bête.
Other highlights include a new Laurie Anderson work by Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble musickFabrik’s tribute to Frank Zappa, Mozart’s glass harmonica music played by Thomas Bloch and the Hebrides Ensemble, the Arditti Quartet’s celebration of works by American exile Conlon Nancarrow and the opening concert featuring Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with Valery Gergiev conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Harpsichordist Christophe Rousset will show off several of the Russell Collection’s historic keyboard instruments in concerts at St Cecilia’s Hall, where they are housed, and take the world famous Goermans/Taskin harpsichord on a rare sortie for his Couperin concert at the Queen’s Hall.
Other firsts include the chance to hear young musicians of the future in Live Music Now Scotland’s Café Concerts series at the Hub, and for Edinburgh’s young musicians a new Passport scheme offers free and discounted tickets to all Usher Hall concerts.