Sir Henry Wood founded the Proms back in 1895 and what a great idea it was seeing as this year celebrates the 124th Prom, which shall include an 8-week long schedule of first-class orchestras, musicians, artists and performances yet to be announced, this week [Thursday 19th April]. Many die-hard Prommers are waiting with bated breath to know who will be performing this summer. That said, and as promised by its founder, the BBC Proms was made for everyone, and not just classical music aficionados and expert Prommers who know their way around the Royal Albert Hall’s pit.
When Prommer tickets are priced at only £6 each it’s rather difficult to not get tempted to queue up and buy one. Over the Summer, new and old Prommers can enjoy hundreds of performers, which range from children concerts, solo recitals, baroque operas, jazz sessions, musicals and more. The scope is endless.
I had the chance to see Nina Stemme perform Salome with conductor Donald Runnicles and the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2014. Then in 2015, I saw Bryn Terfel sing as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and David Attenborough hosted a concert based on the BBC Series Life Story. Music compositions by Murray Gold were performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, depicting many of nature’s wonderful creatures.
A late night Prom, in 2015, also saw Pete Tong’s innovative Radio 1 Ibiza Prom with the Heritage Orchestra. I shall not forget last year’s Prom performance with Nicola Benedetti and The BBC National Orchestra of Wales of Shostakovich’s No. 1 Violin Concerto. These Prom concerts are just a snapshot of the versatility and diverse range of shows and performances veteran Prommers and newbies can experience at the the Royal Albert Hall.
Last year, the BBC Proms sold over 35,000 tickets. 400 pieces of music and 30 premiers were performed by roughly 80 orchestras in 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall. All of these performances are accessible to radio listeners, too, who can tune in and listen to concerts through BBC Radio 3. BBC 2 also broadcasts selected BBC Prom concerts too.
Yet, eventually, the BBC Proms has to end its programme which is why it concludes with a bang. The Last Night of the Proms is an exciting and participatory event for many, including fellow classical music lovers who fly in from abroad, that tends to sell out fast. Union Jack flags and other country flags hover in the air, while everyone in the Royal Albert Hall’s auditorium sing British heritage songs together, such as ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. The Last Night of the Proms becomes a fun, interactive and memorable evening for everyone in attendance. In 2015’s Last Night of the Proms, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann performed ‘Rule Britannia’ on stage and I remember fans throwing panties at him! (Haha!) That night, alongside Jonas, was conductor Marin Alsop who was “very proud” to be the first woman to ever conduct at the Last Night of the Proms.
During the Last Night, the BBC Proms is shared with thousands having a summer picnic in various Parks, including London’s Hyde Park, Swansea Singleton Park and Glasgow Green Park, to name a few. These Prom in the Park events have their own concerts. I saw the late Terry Wogan, past presenter for Eurovision and Children in Need, host at Hyde Park with performances from Rufus Wainwright, Earth, Wind and Fire as well as Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo.
From all of the delightful performances and spectacular talent on offer at the BBC Proms, I am looking forward to this year’s programme and cannot wait to hear who is performing. Whether you are a fan of the Royal Albert Hall’s Grand Organ, Mozart, Philip Glass or keen to hear new work, there’s bound to be something at the Proms you will want to see.
Feel free to share what you’re looking forward to see at the Proms this year? Any predictions? Share (below) on DISQUS.
The 2018 Summer Programme for the BBC Proms will launch on Thursday 19 April. For more information on the BBC Proms, click here.
- Jonas Kaufmann – Four Last Songs, Barbican (2018)
- January 8 – 23 2018: Riots of L.A., interviews with conductors and singers, Salome at the Covent Garden, Christian Slater, Theatre News & other Social Media bits
- January 1 – 7 2018: Golden Globes, #Times Up, Opera, Theatre & other Social Media news
- BBC PROMS 41: Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar: Passages
- BBC Proms 22 : Monteverdi’s Vespers with Raphaël Pichon and Pygmalion