Almost 3000 artists from 47 nations will gather to share the live experience of theatre, dance, opera and music with audiences from approximately a third of the world's nations at Edinburgh International Festival 2012. This year the festival will take place August 9 to September 2.
Major new additions to the Festival in 2012 will be the vast Royal Highland Centre's Lowland Hall converted into a theatrical space for the duration of the Festival, housing Grzegorz Jarzyna's multi-media version of Shakespeare set in the Middle East, 2008: MACBETH; legendary French director Ariane Mnouchkine's witty production LES NAUFRAGÉS DU FOL ESPOIR (AURORES); and Christoph Marthaler with an off-the-wall adaptation of My Fair Lady, MEINE FAIRE DAME – EIN SPRACHLABOR.
Other theatre directors to make rare appearances in the UK at the Festival include the great theatre theorist from Japan Tadashi Suzuki, and Russia's Dmitry Krymov with a new production.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (AS YOU LIKE IT) will be one of three Festival contributions to the UK's World Shakespeare Festival.
Romanian director Silviu Purc?rete will return with a new production of GULLIVER'S TRAVELS in collaboration with Irish folk and rock musician Shaun Davey, one of seven Festival contributions to the London 2012 Festival.
Scotland on the world's stage is celebrated in three Festival projects: a world premiere from James MacMillan; Scottish Opera performing world premieres from composers Craig Armstrong, Huw Watkins and Stuart MacRae; and Matthew Lenton and theatre company Vanishing Point's spin on Alice in Wonderland.
A celebration of the UK's opera companies continues with the premiere of a new production of Janá?ek's THE MAKROPULOS CASE by Opera North and Welsh National Opera with great Wagnerian Ben Heppner in a concert performance of TRISTAN UND ISOLDE in Edinburgh's Usher Hall.
The best of British music and musicians will be showcased in the Festival's Opening Concert with Delius's epic masterpiece A MASS OF LIFE conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and at the close of Festival 2012 with a rousing performance of Walton's BELSHAZZAR'S FEAST.
The Usher Hall will play host to the great partnership of Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra, who will perform the complete Szymanowski and Brahms symphonies on the first of a series of European dates. Visiting international orchestras include the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre des Champs-Élysée, Les Arts Florissants, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester contribute to a Festival focus on celebrating the emerging artistic elite.
The Festival's recently appointed Honorary President Maestro Valery Gergiev will lead the Mariinsky Ballet and orchestra for Prokofiev's CINDERELLA choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky.
Hot Brazilian moves will meet Russian passion when Deborah Colker Dance Company turns Eugene Onegin on its head in the European premiere of TATYANA. French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj brings AND THEN, ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF PEACE and a Stockhausen double bill. Didgeridoo musician William Barton will join Australia's Leigh Warren+Dancers, the boundary breaking Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company from India is set to stun, and the vitality of Juilliard Dance from New York with works by José Limón, Nacho Duato and Alexander Ekman will offer audiences yet another great night out at the Festival.
Thousands of runners are now set to be joined by thousands of walkers forming the participatory audience for NVA'S SPEED OF LIGHT, bringing Edinburgh's iconic city centre mountain Arthur's Seat to life over the three and a half weeks of the Festival.
At the foot of Arthur's Seat the first International Culture Summit will be hosted at the Scottish Parliament. The Edinburgh International Festival in partnership with the Scottish Government, the UK Government and British Council will create a platform and opportunity for Culture Ministers from around the world to join in discussing the power and role of culture in international dialogue on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 August.