It is one of Scotland’s oldest grounds and has been the scene of many a hard-fought battle in front of a passionate support.

Now, Tynecastle Park, home of Hearts, will, for one night, take on the glamour of the Hollywood Bowl in California, for the opening event of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

On August 2 the stadium will provide the stage for the Los Angeles Philharmonic to open the festival with a free performance of music from the world of movies, including works from the “Golden Age” of Hollywood and Star Wars composer John Williams.

The 15,000 audience at the event will also hear music from the Harry Potter films and ET in a concert conducted by its celebrated artistic director, Gustavo Dudamel.
Previous free opening events, instigated by festival director Fergus Linehan, have featured music and light shows, with two outside the Usher Hall.

REVEALED: The 2019 Edinburgh International programme

The 2019 event, sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments, will be free but ticketed, with tickets available from July 1. In a nod to more family audiences, it will start at 7pm and last an hour-and-a-half with no intervals.

The Hollywood Bowl in California, an amphitheatre in the Hollywood 
Hills, is the summer home of the LA Philharmonic.

Fergus Linehan, director of the EIF, said: “Firstly, it connects the very public celebration with the core of what the festival does, which is the greatest musicians in the world. And, secondly, I was really interested to do something with a football club.

“I think there is a parallel between people who go to the arts, or performances and football fans. You see something that mildly disappointing [at the theatre] 
and you think ‘why do they keep going back?’ and you also think ‘why 
do they keep going back to the football when it’s a nil-all draw on a wet 
Tuesday night?’

“It’s because it’s a commitment to something. 

“There is a certain type of person who goes to see their local football team, or sings in a band – they go out: they have a need to be socially engaged.”

The festival, will see a return to Leith Theatre for a series of contemporary music concerts, including Teenage Fanclub, Neneh Cherry and Jarvis Cocker.

There will also be a new strand of theatre and dance addressing modern concerns called You Are Here involving the appearance of all of Scotland’s national performing arts companies, including  Rite Of Spring by Peacock Contemporary Dance Company and Yang Liping.

There will also be  shows by Sir Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry, as well as 
a celebration of the 60th birthday of composer Sir James MacMillan.
Sir James’s birthday will be marked by a series of five concerts, and will culminate in the world premiere of his new Fifth Symphony.

READ MORE: The highlights of this year's EIF are revealed

Lars Von Trier’s movie, Breaking The Waves, will be reborn on stage as an opera in three acts by Missy Mazzoli, performed by Scottish Opera.

Sir Ian will be celebrating his 80th birthday at the Assembly Hall,where he will be performing extracts from his various roles: he will be at the same venue as his first EIF appearance 50 years ago.  

The capital 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 its 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. 

The festival was formed in 1947 in the aftermath of the devastation of the Second World War and Mr Linehan said this year’s programme could provide some respite from the Brexit crisis and other divisive issues at home and abroad.

He said the festival is framed “against a backdrop of division and confusion” and said he hoped the festival offers “a refreshing dose of generosity, inclusiveness and optimism”.

The festival, he said, was not immune to the influence of the Brexit uncertainty, although programming has begun for 2020.

Linehan added: “Brexit has created this situation where every can is being kicked down the road. It has created an absence of broader thinking, and it makes it difficult to think: ‘Where should we be, where should we go?’ It has created a sort of jumpy short-termism.”

He added: “Brexit has created this situation where every can is being kicked down the road. It has created an absence of broader thinking.

“We can programme for next year, but there is this thing hanging over us, 
that we all know that if things got horribly chaotic [in the event of a no deal], then all bets are off, because there will be other priorities. I would say some sort of common sense will kick in....but as far as its effects, its the same old story: we don’t know, we have to see what happens next.

“It’s created an urgency around the whole question of: ‘where do we sit in the world?’ Which the Festivals are quite good at looking at, and also the idea of a little bit of relief for everyone at the moment.”