Edinburgh is once again the stage of the world

In the art world, August is synonymous with Edinburgh. After 2020 without a festival and 2021 with a very limited event – it could almost be said behind closed doors – due to the pandemic, it has now returned to a different planet, where people yearn to travel and enjoy but the cost of living is increasingly prohibitive, different patterns of behavior and consumption . Also the consumption of culture.

Hotels in Edinburgh are nearly full and there are fewer apartments to rent (for tourists and artists) due to new rules imposed by the SNP government, so prices have gone up. Not so, in general, those for tickets, which were not sold at the usual pre-pandemic price, while the most desirable ones are already sold out. The disease still causes prevention, as many believe, and it is natural to wait until the last moment before buying, lest complications arise.

The great protagonist is Ian McKellen, who at the age of 83 enters the world of ballet for the first time with Hamlet.

The comedians who are the kings of parties seem to have conspired to make Edinburgh’s 2022 memorable, and the card is exciting despite very few – if any – of these shows making money. Once all expenses (accommodation, food, transportation…) are accounted for, the artists always end up in red. What they hope is to gain fame and increase their reputation.

Omid Jalili became known in the Scottish capital in 1993, and returned this year – which he asserts will be his last – as a kind of emotional thanks, to somehow close the circle. “One does these things not for money but for the love of art.” The same is true of other important names in the British humor world who have come to make people laugh (Boris Johnson is an easy target, but they get along with everyone else), such as Rachel Barris, Marcus Brigstock and Sekisa Bostwick Barnes. “The level of performances will be very high – Jalili points out – because everyone has nearly three years to put their numbers in, train on and polish them in shows offered by Zoom or social networks like TikTok.

Ian McKellen at the Edinburgh Festival

Ian McKellen at the Edinburgh Festival

Ruby Jack / Getty Images

The great protagonist of this 75th anniversary is the indefatigable 83-year-old Ian McKellen who stars in a ballet version of Hamlet (an art he hasn’t explored yet), in a version directed by former Danish dancer and choreographer Peter Shufuss. .

For McKellen, Hamlet’s script has no mystery, as he played the character of Shakespeare so many times, a role that took him to the stage for the first time in 1971. Even those running,” he says, was the adventure of seeing from within how a dance performance is presented, How does someone like him do it? [Schaufuss]. Oftentimes, the important thing is neither the money nor the quality of the materials, but the people one works with.” The play is staged in the Assembly Hall, the same theater where Richard II performed in 2019.

Comedians who are the kings of parties will make this version something memorable, without making money

Director Eva van Hoof brings to Edinburgh 22 the long-awaited adaptation of Hania Yanagihara’s novel Little Love, with the daunting challenge of bringing the enormity of the drama and pain found in its pages to the stage, following the lives of four men through more than thirty years of friendship; Zimbabwean artist Mandela Ray makes a colorful and highly personal exploration of her childhood memories as an immigrant in “British Like a Watermelon”. Scotsman Alan Cummings pitched in Hollywood returns as national hero Robert Burns. Boris III is a parody of the British Prime Minister as Richard III.

Tracy Emin next to a statue

Tracey Emin next to the “I’m Lying Here For You” statue

© Jane Barlow

The National Theater of Scotland presents an adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy Media by Liz Lochhead; Irish national treasure Gabriel Byrne stars in Walking with Ghosts, both cheerful with laughter and heartbreaking with sadness; And You Know We Belong Together is an exploration of what it means to live with Down syndrome through music, video and dance, as victims of the disease recount their dramatic experiences.

Catalan Jordi Saval brought his Hespèrion XXI to Edinburgh, along with musicians recruited from Europe, the Middle East, India, China and North Africa, for a concert inspired by Ibn Battuta, a 14th-century Islamic scholar seen as perhaps the greatest traveler of all times; Sir Donald Ranikels, director of music for Deutsche Oper Berlin, directs a musical version of Beethoven’s Fidelio, a major attraction in the opera along with new insights from Salome and Rusalka; In Dance, the classic ballet Coppelia is reimagined for the digital age, a reinterpretation of Kipling’s Jungle Book, and The Pulse, a performance of sixty acrobats accompanied by a live performance by a choir.

At the Art Festival, Tracey Emin, who has recovered from cancer, explores the fragility and multiplicity of a patient’s body in a colossal bronze sculpture evoking Rodin, titled “I Lay Here For You.” The most optimistic is an exhibition at the National Gallery of Scotland (A Taste of Impressionism: Art Nouveau from Millet to Matisse) which collected 19th and 20th century French works acquired by industrialists from Glasgow and Edinburgh, railway magnates, textiles and chocolate, with paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin and Degas and other professors. It’s one of the most ambitious shows in its history, and it’s proof that Edinburgh is once again open to the world.

Jordi Saval attends his band Hespèrion XXI at a concert inspired by Ibn Battuta, considered perhaps the greatest traveler of all time

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