Edinburgh International Festival gets underway

Baku, August 7, AZERTAC

The Edinburgh International Festival launches today with the Opening Concert and ends with the Festival Fireworks Concert on 31 August. According to the festival1`s website, every August, the Edinburgh International Festival transforms one of the world's most beautiful cities, presenting three exhilarating weeks of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of the arts - for everyone. Edinburgh's six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe.

The Edinburgh International Festival was the inspired idea of Rudolf Bing, then the General Manager of Glyndebourne Opera, Henry Harvey Wood, the Head of the British Council in Scotland, and leaders from the City of Edinburgh.

Set up as a world class cultural event to bring together audiences and artists from around the world it has always been a leading international cultural organisation loved by many, which also generates a wide range of benefits for Edinburgh and Scotland.

Right from the beginning the Festival inspired people not part of the International programme to put on shows of their own, and these events grew into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. More festivals have grown up around it in August and early September, as well as throughout the year and there are now 12 major annual festivals in Edinburgh, the Festival City.

Founded in 1947, the Festival rose out of the ashes of the Second World War to provide 'a platform for the flowering of the human spirit'. Its most visible flowering, in August at least, is now 'the Fringe', formed the same year by actors denied space at the Festival by the International Festival's first director, Sir Rudolf Bing. The first of its kind, the International Festival has inspired countless others outside Scotland. It is supported by Edinburgh locals and visitors alike, and takes place in some of the largest spaces across the city, including the Usher Hall and the Playhouse.

Unlike the Fringe, the International Festival is a 'curated festival': its artists and companies participate by invitation only. As such, it prides itself on the internationally high standard of its performances and exhibitions. It incorporates classical music, theatre, opera, dance and visual art, and events are often focused around an idea chosen by the director.

Characterised by its balance of countries and cultures, the International Festival is the place where audiences drawn from all corners of the planet can appreciate the world's best art. For many members of this diverse audience, the International Festival provides a first taste of Scottish culture - something that its directors over time have championed.

The end of the International Festival is marked every year by an extravagant Fireworks Concert. Colours explode against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra accompany the bangs and whizzes - crowds can buy tickets for the concert inside Princes Street Gardens, or gather on the hills and rooftops across Edinburgh.

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