What to see at the 2023 Edinburgh International Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival: What’s On

Edinburgh is well known for its annual festivals. And it all started in 1947 with the first Edinburgh International Festival. Since then, this festival has grown into an all-encompassing takeover of arts in the city during August. The festival takes the best of theatre, opera, dance and music from around the world to create a world-class cultural event. And what better place to stay whilst you live and breathe the festival than Parliament House Hotel? We’re within easy walking range of most venues, and only a quick bus or taxi ride to the rest.

So, let’s take a look at what’s on at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2023…

The Hub Reimagined

The Hub is the home of the International Festival. An imposing church building beside Edinburgh Castle, at the top of the Royal Mile. Open every afternoon throughout August, you can visit here to find out what’s on and buy your show tickets. The Hub will also host a series of concerts and events on selected evenings. Find out more.

The Opening Celebration

The festival opens on 6th August with a celebration of live music in Princes Street Gardens, featuring professional and amateur musicians from across Scotland. This is a free event, open to all.

Opening Concert: Buddha Passion

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Edinburgh Festival Chorus, conducted by Tan Dun, perform the Scottish premiere of Buddha Passion. Fusing the legends of Buddhism with the tradition of Bach’s choral Passions, it tells the story of a prince on his journey to enlightenment. Book tickets.

Community Over Chaos

Community Over Chaos is one of this year’s three key themes. It explores the future of community and bringing people together. Performances under this category include four concerts from the Budapest Festival Orchestra, choral music from the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and contemporary classical music from The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Explore theme.

Hope in the face of adversity

This theme looks at how we overcome adversity through internal strength. The category includes four concerts from the London Symphony Orchestra, a performance from synth-pop artist Alison Goldfrapp and music from indie singer-songwriter Jake Bugg. Explore theme.

A perspective that’s not one’s own

Finally, this theme is about seeing things from a different point of view, listening and understanding others. Performances under this category include jazz and soul singer Lady Blackbird, string players Isidore String Quartet and contemporary dance from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Explore theme.

The Closing Concert

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and three vocal soloists perform at the Usher Hall for this spectacular festival finale on 27th August. Conducted by the internationally acclaimed Karina Canellakis. Book tickets.

Closing event: Music in Charlotte Square

On the 26th and 27th August, which is the final weekend of the festival, Charlotte Square will host a free closing event with recorded music from festival concerts playing in the gardens. Everyone is welcome.

Explore the programme

There’s so much more to discover in this year’s programme. Take a look at the full programme here and book your tickets online. And remember to book your room with us in advance to give you the best seats in the house!