Sir Ian McKellen to perform best-loved roles at Edinburgh International Festival

27 March 2019, 15:16 | Updated: 27 March 2019, 15:18

Ian McKellen

The Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) programme for 2019 has launched with star names including Sir Ian McKellen and Jarvis Cocker heading to the Scottish capital.

Names from classical and contemporary music, theatre, opera and dance will descend on Edinburgh for the 72nd edition of the festival between August 2 and 26.

Renowned actor Sir Ian McKellen will perform extracts from his best-loved roles and recall moments from his life and career over four dates at the Assembly Hall.

Musician Jarvis Cocker meanwhile will perform at Leith Theatre which will host concerts with a number of artists including Anna Calvi, Kate Tempest, Neneh Cherry, Sharon Van Etten and Teenage Fanclub.

The festival will open with the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing film soundracks in a special free concert for 15,000 people at Tynecastle Park, the home of Heart of Midlothian FC, where the EIF programme was launched on Wednesday morning.

Fergus Linehan, EIF director, said: "At the end of the first Edinburgh International Festival in 1947, conductor Bruno Walter wrote that the Festival has succeeded because 'it was of the utmost importance and most to be desired that all the ties, which had been torn, should be re-united'.

"The 2019 International Festival launch is framed against a backdrop of division and confusion.

"With artists and audiences from all over the world gathering to celebrate each other's music, theatre, dance and art, we hope that the 2019 International Festival will offer a refreshing dose of generosity, inclusiveness and optimism".

The city will also welcome Stephen Fry performing Mythos: A Trilogy, based on his best-selling book, as well as two Berlin opera houses in Komische Oper Berlin and Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Scottish Ballet will have the world premiere of their production of The Crucible at the Edinburgh Playhouse, coming in the company's 50th anniversary season, while Glasgow actor James McArdle will star in Peter Gynt at the Festival Theatre.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Edinburgh's Culture and Communities Convener, said: "This summer, the world's greatest artists and ensembles will once again come together in our capital to celebrate the 72nd year of one of the biggest arts festivals in the world.

"From opera to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sir Ian McKellen to Jarvis Cocker, the 2019 programme will feature 2,600 artists in a diverse mix of music, dance and theatre.

"It is also great to see the Festival return to Leith Theatre following the success of last year's concerts - it has a great line up.

"With such a mix of community events and Scottish artists, and a truly international programme of opera, dance and theatre this looks like it's going to be one of the most exciting International Festival programmes yet."

The full programme can be viewed on the EIF website.