East meets West at Edinburgh festival

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East meets West at Edinburgh festival

LONDON - The 2011 edition of the Edinburgh International Festival will be a celebration of “vibrant and diverse” Asian culture, from traditional Indian music to a Chinese adaptation of Shakespeare, organizers said Wednesday.

The festival, one of several that takes place in the Scottish capital each summer and which together form the biggest cultural event in the world, will present three weeks of music, dance, theater and opera beginning Aug. 12.

This year’s international festival is “an exploration and celebration of the vibrant and diverse cultures of Asia and the long-standing influences on the cultural landscape of the West,” organizers said in a statement.

One of the highlights will be a ballet adaptation of “The Peony Pavilion,” a love story by Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, performed by the National Ballet of China.

The version of the classic Chinese tale brings together Western classical ballet, a symphony orchestra and traditional Chinese instruments.

Other shows include a version of English playwright William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” by a Shanghai opera company, as well as the bard’s play “The Tempest” by a Korean theater company.

Traditional Indian music will be showcased in “The Legendary Music of Rajasthan,” which organizers said will include voices and instruments of desert communities.

“European artists, explorers and philosophers have drawn inspiration from the Far East for centuries,” said festival director Jonathan Mills.

“This festival draws inspiration from across the diverse cultures of Asia, from Vietnam to China.”

Millions of visitors flock to Edinburgh each year for the festivals, transforming the Scottish capital from a sleepy, historic city into a vibrant cultural center.

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