The Edinburgh International Festival is framed against a backdrop of ‘division and confusion’, its director has said as the lineup for the 73rd annual event was unveiled.

Sir Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, Jarvis Cocker and Sir James MacMillan are among a host of stars who will perform during the world-renowned festival, which takes place in the capital from August 2 to 26.

They are among leading lights from the world of classical music, opera, dance, theatre, contemporary music and ballet in a programme that features 93 events, with 293 performances across 17 venues and 2,600 artists from 40 nations.

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival 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 andaudiences from all over the world gathering to celebrate each other’s music, theatre, dance andart, we hope that the 2019 International Festival will offer a refreshing dose of generosity, inclusiveness and optimism.”

Fiona Hyslop, Culture Secretary said:One of Scotland’s strengths is our concentration of magnificent cultural festivals, none more so than the Edinburgh International Festival, which brings the finest performers and ensembles from Scotland and across the world to our Capital city.“This year the city will boast an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts with an unbeatable programme featuring dance, opera, music and theatre. I am particularly pleased that there will be a celebration of the work of Sir James MacMillan, the pre-eminent Scottishcomposer of his generation. Sir James MacMillan at 60 is backed by £150,000 from the Scottish Government’s EXPO fund.”

She added: “The Festival’s impact extends beyond its August programme. Its community engagement,creative learning and professional development programmes run throughout the year, reaching the widest possible audiences and contributing to the cultural and social life ofEdinburgh and Scotland, in part supported by the Scottish Government’s contribution to thePLACE programme”.

Iain Munro, Acting Chief Executive, Creative Scotland, added:“One of Scotland’s most remarkable cultural events, the Edinburgh International Festivalwelcomes the world, bringing the best of global culture to the city in a shared celebration of artistic excellence and cultural exchange.

“For Scottish and international talent alike, the Festival provides an essential platform to create and present extraordinary work and inspire audiences. This year, we are particularly pleased to be supporting the International Festival through the new PLACE funding initiative, helping to deepen and broaden global connections between artists and audiences.

“From Tynecastle Park to the heart of the city centre and beyond, the International Festival proves once again that Edinburgh is the only place to be in August. Creative Scotland is proud to support an event that is the envy of the world”.

Musician Jarvis Cocker, of Pulp fame, will perform at Leith Theatre which will stage shows by artists Anna Calvi, Kate Tempest, Neneh Cherry, Sharon Van Etten and Teenage Fanclub.

Author and actor Stephen Fry will perform Mythos: A Trilogy, based on his best-selling book, as well as two Berlin opera houses in Komische Oper Berlin and Deutsche Oper Berlin.

And the world premiere of Scottish Ballet’s production of The Crucible at will come to the Edinburgh Playhouse, in the company’s 50th anniversary season, while Glasgow actor James McArdle stars in Peter Gynt at the Festival Theatre.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will open the festival performing film soundtracks in a special free concert for 15,000 people at Tynecastle Park, the home of Heart of Midlothian FC.

For the full lineup visit the EIF website.