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Edinburgh Festival line-up

McMaster acks bathroom drama

Classical music for clubbers, theatre in a bathroom, and a recital in the offices of Scottish Widows. The Edinburgh International Festival might not have the reputation for innovation enjoyed by the Fringe, but this year's programme proves it has the same capacity for the unexpected. Who else could round up the Netherlands Dance Theatre, conductor Sir Charles Mackerras and the Czech Philharmonic all leading names in their fields and get them on the same bill?

The three-week event, running 13 August-2 September, kicks off with the Cleveland Orchestra, complete with band, soloists and two additional choruses, playing Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust. It launches a music programme that includes the entire repertoire of Mozart piano concertos played by the SCO, and two concerts by Steve Reich (the inspiration behind the dancefloor compilation Reich Remixed a couple of years back).

Brian McMaster's theatre programme includes Barbaric Comedies, a collaboration between director Calixto Bieto, translator Frank McGuinness, and Dublin’s Abbey Theatre; War of the Worlds, inspired by the work of Orson Welles; and Mil quinientos metros sobre el nivel de Jack performed in a mock-up of the Argentinean director‘s bathroom.

Scottish Opera is premiering Das Rheingold, the start of its Wagner Ring Cycle, bypassing its money problems with help from the Bank of Scotland. As well as all three divisions of NOT, the dance programme includes New York City Ballet, and Berlin's Schaubuhne Theatre (Bodies pictured). Tickets go on sale to the public on 15 April, tickets 0131 473 2000.

MEANWHILE, the Fringe is promising the first real-time on-line arts booking service in Britain. Point your web browser at www.edfringe.com just now and you can order a programme. After 8 June, however, you'll be able to fill up a virtual shopping basket with all the tickets you fancy. No details of the line-up yet (except that it's still an irritating week out of step with the EIF), but expect several important new venues including Our Dynamic Earth, the Gateway and a rumoured venture for Karen Koren in Princes Street Gardens. ‘It’s a time of exciting change,’ said a Fringe Office insider. ’We're welcoming back old friends and saying hello to the new.‘


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