Edinburgh International Festival

Caroline Cassidy

The Edinburgh International Festival begins on the 13th August and runs through until the 5th September - that's a lot of culture. The festival celebrates performing arts including opera, music, drama and dance and if you decide to travel to Edinburgh for the festival, you'll be treated to performances from around the world.

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The festival takes place in several sites around the city, the main one being The Hub, which is a remarkable building not far from Edinburgh Castle. Its huge gothic spire can be seen for miles around. Other venues for the festival are Usher Hall, Festival Theatre, The Edinburgh Playhouse, Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Queen's Hall.

This year, opera fans can attend performances of Graun's Montezuma - set in Mexico during the time of the Spanish conquistadors - which has been given an innovative spin, the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess including the famous aria 'Summertime', Mozart's masterpiece Idomeneo, Puccini's La fanciulla del West which closely followed his hugely successful Madama Butterfly, Purcell's The Indian Queen set in the royal courts of Peru and Mexico, Ravel's comic masterpiece L'heure espagnole and the eagerly awaited Bliss written by Brett Dean and Amanda Holden.

Admirers of dance can watch Tempest: Without a Body which is a mixture of dance, theatre and ceremony created by Samoan choreographer and activits Lemi Ponifaio. By the same choreographer is Birds with Skymirrors, a performance that encompasses the politics of race, tradition, mythology, consumerism and the environment. Grupo Corpo combines flamboyant Brazilian dance with contemporary choreography. Ballet lovers can watch ALonzo King Lines Balle in their UK debut. Pina Bausch's Tanztheater WUppertal is an homage to the jungle and the Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company will delight their audience with their imaginative storytelling through music and dance.

Theatrical performances at the festival include The Sun Also Rises based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway, Caledonia by AListair Beaton, The Gospel at COlonus which is a reworking of Sophocles's Oedipus, Vieux Carré by Tennesee Williams, Songs of Ascension by Merdith Monk and Ann Hamilton, Sin Sangre - the first of two production from the Chilean company Teatro Cinema, The Man Who Fed Butterflies - the second production from Teatro Cinema and Diciembre by Guillermo Calderón.

For music lovers there is a performance of John Adams's El Niño, young American pianist Jonathon Biss plays in the Queen's Hall, Gunther Schuller will be conducting a series of American classics in Rhapsodies in Red, White and Blue, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra will perform two concerts during the festival. Soprano Magdalena Kožená makes a return to the festival, Melvyn Tan will perform piano concertos and the Fiesta Criolla will be a representation of a baroque festival blending ceremonial, religious and folk music.

As well as all the performances, festivalgoers will also be able to attend talks and workshops about the different arts. And if you find yourself overdosing on culture, you can always step out of the International Festival and find comedy, film, books and street performers amongst many other things in the Edinburgh Festival that takes place at the same time.