While the delight of seeing artists back on stage will stay fresh for some time, a happy consequence of the pandemic is that online culture keeps upping its game. It’s also now widely acknowledged that, for a myriad of reasons, live events aren’t accessible to all. So hats off to Edinburgh International Festival for continuing to produce and share digital content that brings quality performances to a wide audience.
Not only does Edinburgh is a Story give people an opportunity to enjoy a range of artforms, but the vehicle delivering it is a work of art in itself. Film production company Forest of Black weaves its camera in and around the action like a fellow performer. It also renders Scotland’s capital breathtakingly beautiful – if you live in Edinburgh you’ll fall in love with it all over again, if you don’t, you’ll start planning a visit.
Each location has been carefully chosen to complement the artist(s) and artform. We see poet Hannah Lavery strolling along the Royal Mile and sitting by the Shore in Leith, as she delivers her tribute to the peculiarities of Edinburgh.
High above the city, Australian didgeridoo player William Barton stands perched on Salisbury Crags, his full voice and musicality caught by the wind. Seated on the Scottish Parliament’s sweeping staircase, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra and soprano Liudmyla Monastryrska deliver a rousing section from Beethoven’s Fidelio.
Across the road in the stunning Great Gallery of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, pianist Wayne Marshall wraps us up in a sublime improvisation inspired by Gershwin’s Summertime. While down at Portobello beach and up on Calton Hill, Scottish Ballet dancer James Garrington leaps and twirls, his body communing with nature in choreographer Nick Shoesmith’s vibrant new solo.
Each short film bursts with individuality and, depending on your predilections, cries out for repeat viewings.
To watch, visit the Edinburgh International Festival YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/@edintfest