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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Opera inspires Edinburgh festival
Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming stars in Greek tragedy The Bacchae
The new director of the Edinburgh International Festival, Jonathan Mills, has unveiled a line-up inspired by L'Orfeo - considered the first opera.

Monteverdi's opera, which is 400 years old this year, will be the centrepiece of a programme that includes six world premieres in theatre, music and dance.

Among them is a production of Capriccio by Cologne's Opera and a version of The Bacchae by Scotland's National Theatre.

The arts festival runs from Friday 10 August to Sunday 2 September.

Mills said it was a "huge honour and thrill" to be announcing his first festival.

"Festivals are a gift, a special gift from a city to itself, to its citizens, to its visitors, to its future, to its very soul."

'Stellar line-up'

Jonathan Mills
Jonathan Mills is the new Edinburgh International Festival director
The festival, which will take place in theatres, concert halls and opera houses across Edinburgh, includes performances by the Scottish Ballet, the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and Apolonija Sustersic.

Several shows will reference the debate raised in L'Orfeo over the importance of words versus music.

X-Men star Alan Cumming will also return to the Scottish stage for the first time in 17 years to play Dionysus in a production of The Bacchae.

In the visual arts, Jardins Publics sees three artists explore the idea of public gardens with installations placed around the city.

"There is a broad range of artists, styles and work from the deeply serious to the seriously fun which I hope will appeal to everyone," said Mills.

Scotland's minister for culture, tourism and sport, Patricia Ferguson, praised the "stellar line-up" of international and home-grown talent.

"That's what makes the city special and that's why Scotland should take pride in its world class festivals," she said.

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