First reveal for Festival 2016

The Edinburgh International Festival has announced its first production of Festival 2016.

Today the Edinburgh International Festival revealed it will present Salzburger Festspiele’s internationally acclaimed production of Bellini’s Norma as part of Festival 2016. 

Starring world renowned mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli in the title role, Norma will open the Festival’s opera programme with three performances at the Festival Theatre from 5 – 9 August 2016. Tickets go on sale in November, ahead of the full Festival programme launch which will take place in April 2016. 

Bartoli leads a stellar cast including John Osborn as Pollione - who sang in the Festival 2014 concert performance of William Tell with Teatro Regio Torino - Rebeca Olvera as Adalgisa and Péter Kálmán as Oroveso. Diego Fasolis conducts the I Barocchisti orchestra on period instruments, with the Swiss Radio and Television Chorus, Lugano.

The production premiered to international acclaim at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in May 2013, later winning ‘Best New Production of 2013’ at the International Opera Awards. It was revived by the summer Salzburger Festspiele in 2015 and is now on a European tour, of which the Edinburgh performances are the only UK dates.

Norma is directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier in a new version conceived with Bartoli in her role as Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. The production sets the story in occupied France during the Second World War, pitting members of the Résistance against the troops of the Nazi military administration. It uses a new critical edition of the score by Maurizio Biondi and Riccardo Minasi, which restores the original dramatic and musical character intended by Bellini.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Festivals and Events Champion, said: “This announcement is just one glimpse into the Edinburgh International Festival’s 2016 programme and suggests another thrilling year is in store for classical music fans. Mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli is one of the world's greatest and most versatile opera performers, and in the title role from Bellini’s Norma, the Festival Theatre performances will be her Edinburgh debut.”

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director added: "We are thrilled to bring this remarkable reworking of Norma to Edinburgh where it can be enjoyed by opera fans in the UK for the first time, as well as marking the Festival debut of Cecilia Bartoli. We look forward to welcoming Ms Bartoli and the Norma company to the 2016 Festival with this landmark production."

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