Edinburgh festival turns to Asia

Image caption, The National Ballet of China are one of the companies who will perform in Edinburgh

Next year's Edinburgh International Festival is to focus on Asian culture, welcoming performers from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam.

Festival director Jonathan Mills said August 2011's programme would include an Edinburgh debut for the National Ballet of China.

Other highlights will include the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe and the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

The full programme will be announced in March 2011.

Mr Mills, who made the announcement in the Chinese capital Beijing, paid tribute to the developing cultural ties with the Chinese government.

The festival director said: "The exquisite and sensual cultures of Asia have long inspired western artists.

"Festival 2011 sets these works alongside theatre, opera, music and dance from the diverse cultures of Asia, from Vietnam to China; taking audiences on a journey to immerse themselves in the beauty, traditions and distinctive philosophies of Asian cultures both ancient and modern."

Mr Mills announced four companies who would be making their festival debut.

The National Ballet of China will perform Peony Pavillion, one of China's most famous classical love stories, with music by acclaimed composer Guo Wenjing.

Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe will perform an East-meets-West adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan is set in the fictitious Realm of the Red City and stars some of China's most-famed performers.

Chief Conductor Myung-Whun Chung brings the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra to the festival for the first time.

And Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola celebrates cultural memory and meditates on the human cost of war in Drought and Rain (re-creation 2011).

Mr Mills added: "Festival 2011 is no mere history lesson, it will be a heady three weeks of exquisite artistic exploration which I hope will intoxicate audiences. I look forward to revealing the full programme in March next year."

The Edinburgh International Festival 2011 runs from 12 August to 4 September.

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