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Festival opera to move to Falkirk
Published on Thursday, 01 April 2010

This Ticket Alert was published on April Fool's Day, 2010.  Its content is fictional.

The Edinburgh International Festival's opera programme will move to Falkirk in 2013, FringeGuru can exclusively reveal.  Forming a central plank of the Scottish Government's policy to diversify cultural agencies away from the capital, the ambitious project will also see the creation of a classical "super-venue" - with a fast shuttle linking the new Central Belt hub to the Usher Hall.

Falkirk Wheel
Innovative venues: the Falkirk Wheel
The radical proposal won support from funding bodies and planning authorities earlier this week, following late-night negotiations over the revised Festival's name.  We understand the event will retain its Edinburgh branding, after a planned switch to "International Festival of Central Scotland" was rejected by the Festival's own board.

In a coordinated move, Transport Scotland is to bring forward its proposed Edinburgh-Glasgow "eco-shuttle", previously slated to open in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  Departing from Edinburgh Quay - a stone's throw from the Usher Hall - the speedboat service will gain a stop at Falkirk, just 30 minutes from Edinburgh along the Union Canal.  Bypassing rush-hour traffic, the specially-designed launch will reach speeds of 60 knots, yet require less power than the lighting rig for a single one-act play.

But while plans for transport seem well advanced, mystery surrounds the exact location of the EIF's new venue.  An early discussion paper seen by FringeGuru proposed the use of Falkirk Stadium - but independent experts have told us it would require a costly upgrade to provide the facilities that world-class opera companies demand.  In the interim, the Festival's programming team is said to be "excited" about working in a range of innovative spaces, including Callendar Park and the Falkirk Wheel.

Indeed, speculation will inevitably focus on the nascent Aachenschügel Staatsoper, whose hopes of a ground-breaking debut on the London Eye were scuppered by high winds last year.  A barge moored on the Falkirk Wheel would offer a far more stable platform for the chorus - handing creative director Sebastian Fühl a perhaps-unique opportunity to realize his vision for a rotating staging of the Ring Cycle.

It's not every day we can bring you a story like this one... but of course, we'll keep you up to date on further developments throughout the year.

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