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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 18:43 GMT
Edinburgh unveils 2002 programme
Claudio Abbado conducts Wagner's Parsifal this year
Organisers of the Edinburgh International Festival have unveiled a diverse programme for this year's event, which runs from 11 August until the end of the month.

The International Festival is the oldest of the Scottish capital's summer festivals, which also include the Fringe and the film festival.

Festival organisers are making a special attempt to reach more people with the classical music programme, organising a series of late-night concerts for 5 at the city's Usher Hall.

Rotterdam's Ro Theater presents Macbeth
James Waters, associate director of the festival, told the BBC: "We've noticed over the last two or three years that the concerts we've put on late at night at the Usher Hall have attracted a younger audience.

"So this year we've set up an entire series with some very major artists, and there'll be tickets available for everything on the day.

"We think it's an exciting way of getting an audience for classical music who might otherwise not go."

Another highlight is a co-production between the Edinburgh International Festival and the Salzburg Easter Festival of Wagner's last opera, Parsifal.

"It's conducted by probably the world's greatest conductor, Claudio Abbado, and directed by Peter Stein and it's not to be missed," said James Waters.

Other operatic high points are expected to be provided by Scottish Opera's production of Siegfried, from Wagner's Ring Cycle, and Luc Bondy's version of Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw.


Theatrical highlights include new plays from two leading Scottish playwrights, Douglas Maxwell and David Harrower.

And one of the world's great theatre companies, the Vienna Burgtheater, returns with a production of Schiller's Maria Stuart.

Festival director Brian McMaster said the combination of events was "unique in the world".

I think the festivals in Edinburgh are incredibly important to the economy of the city

Festival organiser
Joanna Baker

The programme was "aimed equally at attracting people from as far away as Los Angeles as well as exciting our local audience", he said.

The 5, one-hour classical concerts are scheduled to take place at 2230 each evening at the city's 2,000-seat Usher Hall, and tickets will go on sale from mid-July.

"We hope the offer will attract people who perhaps don't usually come to classical music concerts," festival organiser Joanna Baker said.

Diverse programme

"I think the festivals in Edinburgh are incredibly important to the economy of the city."

Odissi dancing
The festival will showcase Indian dance

Ms Baker said she was concerned that the events of 11 September might have an impact on the festival.

But she noted that festival audiences were known for their loyalty to the event.

A rich, diverse programme would include a wide range of music, from Bach to Stravinsky, she said.

For dance lovers, Emio Greco and Pieter C Scholten return to Edinburgh with two new pieces, and Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara's company, Karas, will be performing.

There will also be a chance to experience the six major forms of Indian classical dance - Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and Mohiniattam - over three days.

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