How Last Night at the BBC Proms fell flat

How Last Night at the BBC Proms fell flat


norman lebrecht

September 15, 2019

The summer-ending gala that is the Last Night of the Proms missed its mark in 2019.

Something was missing.

The little red glow that grows in the first half and sparks in the second failed altogether to ignite.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra looked more than averagely elsewhere. The tedious forest of EU flags seemed faintly disloyal in the circumstances.

The me-me-gay-me soloist Jamie Barton made less of the role than her Wagnerian predecessors (I hope Dame Gwyneth wasn’t watching). The condcutor Sakari Oramo delivered his closing speech with all the flair of an EU commissioner’s fishing rights report. The chorus of Rule, Britannia sounded for once as misplaced as the EU flags.

The programme was partly to blame. The tick-box insertion of a Percy Grainger bon-bon and an Elizabeth Maconchy suite between an Offenbach can-can and a Wizard of Oz aria drained the night of momentum. The BBC presenters’ self-praising banalities numbed the ear.

Watching the occasion on television, nothing stirred. Social media was unenthused.

It was pancake night at the BBC Proms.

Need for a reboot.



  • S Kzige says:

    Why did Jamie Barton need a headset microphone?

  • Peter Roberts says:

    I am a supporter of gay rights! I am GAY!

    This was completely uncalled for, Jamie Barton. As a patron of the Proms, this was the worst yet. Moreover, another American imposing personal views of political standard on the audience where it does not belong.

    I felt this was more of a pride parade and Jamie show rather than being at the Proms.

    I understand the big names are a must at these rally’s but for goodness sake: THEY ARE THERE TO DO A JOB.

    Please advocate off the stage.

    • Emil says:

      And Kaepernick should stick to sports, amirite?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Trouble is, activism is the new world order. Once you roll out that it’s unstoppable and it crashes through everything. Douglas Murray has written extensively about this.

      One thing I know; the Right of politics didn’t start any of it.

    • Una says:

      Thanks Peter. I found it all quite distasteful before the concert even started and political to a fault and a farce. Do we need to.know she is bisexual, or whatever? Get on with the singing and the job that is required, not the one that should be outside somewhere else.

    • Ian Wilkinson says:

      Thanks Peter – your honesty is greatly appreciated and I agree entirely with you. I am straight with several gay friends, nephews and nieces (I have a large family) – WE are ALL quite normal and do not need this kind of promenading.

    • Stereo says:

      Well said Peter. And why did the BBC allow her to wave that rainbow flag after Rule Britannia. Political correctness gone mad and as you say totally inappropriate on an occasion such as this.

  • erich says:

    An absolutely dreadful evening. BBC all inclusive political correctness gone mad. Mediocre music making and programming (whoever disinterred that frightful Grainger piece should be incarcerated in the Tower). La Barton has a terrific voice but her plastic-American empty Showbusiness smile was frankly nauseating- and was her dress meant to look like a vagina? I’m all for LGBT etc rights but the whole thing smacked of desperation. Oramo is also the perfect sleep-inducing nonentity.

    • Alviano says:

      That’s right erich: you are all for LGBT (add QI and other letters at will) rights, so long as they are never expressed in your sight or presence.

      The whole evening with the Union Jack and Rule Britannia can turn a foreigner’s stomach, but we take it all as good fun because we know it is not meant as jingoistic colonial imperialism but rather a celebration of a kind of British identity. But then when you invite a foreign performer on stage you have to be open to a comparable in-your-face expression of her (dare I say “their”) identity. Just take it all as fun.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Same old tired tropes of PC. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    • Wally Francis says:

      Your comments re the conductor Sakari Oramo are ill-informed and quite honestly offensive. How many of his concerts have you heard? How many of his award winning recordings have you listened to or indeed owned? My guess is very few on each count. Some of you people on this site should listen more and keep your pathetic opinions private.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Get ready for the woke media gushing about how Jamie has reclaimed the Last Night from the gammons. But, I can’t help thinking that it is the format that lends itself to the self indulgence that is obvious on both the platform and the audience. Flags, of any hue, are political statements and have long been out of place here as they are on College Green so whether they are Red, White and Blue, Blue, or Rainbow they are equally objectionable. And it is pathetic that the BBC should in its desperation appear ‘down there’ with an audience that is indifferent to their output, based on the listening figures for the 18-24 group. Continually chasing them like Gustav von Aschenbach shadowing Tadzio.

    • Cynical Bystander says:

      3 guesses, you’ll only really need 1, as to where this appears…… “Laura Mvula was captivating, and I cried when opera star Jamie Barton took to the stage with a rainbow flag. Shame the conductor spent the entire night with his back to us”

      Those with a strong disposition might care to read the whole article (Just in case you don’t know where it’s on the Guardian, as if it could be anywhere else). Enjoy!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Don’t agree about the flags. People have used these at “Last NIght of the Proms” for decades. Since when it is unsavoury to be patriotic. This bland, one-shoe-fits-all new world order imposed by vacuous activists is nothing less than terrifying.

      If the Proms chooses to go Woke people will stay away in droves. Then we can look back on replays and enjoy it more.

      • Laurence says:

        Oh those terrible “activists”! Why can’t we go back to the good old days of Empire and colonialism! When homosexuality was criminal! When the darker races knew their places! I foresee rivers of blood! Blood, I tell you! You have every right to be terrified!

  • Mike says:

    I completely agree. The last night was taken over by liberal populism. The BBC need an internal look at what went wrong. The speech was dull as dishwater clearly written by some BBC administrator rather than by the conductor. Can we get back to the eccentric british last night created by Henry Wood the way it always was. All these devolved bits are also nonsense. The proms is a UK event and not an EU moan. Bringing politics into the proms is a mistake.

    • christopher storey says:

      This was the most dreadful Last Night I have ever seen, and if the BBC cannot do better than this it should give up . The soloist was awful, as was the choice of programme , and Oramo did not do much to help, and that is being kind about his contribution. I too resent the EU symbols so much in evidence – this is not a political occasion, and nor is it an occasion for promotion of a particular sexual inclination. Never again , I hope

    • Novagerio says:

      An utter complete display of politically correct liberal populism. I’m glad that the pragmatists get to see both faces of EU-populism !!
      The greatest party in the UK, with a traditional aim to celebrate UK patriotism, UK’s strength and independence, all washed in EU flags all over the place. And with boring and mediocre performers doing the work of Brussel-commissioners. Poor Sir Henry Wood !!

    • Brian says:

      As an American watching this curiosity from afar, the Proms has always struck me as a political rally cloaked as a concert. Whether it’s Union Jack flags or EU ones, they’re all making a nationalistic statement. I’m sure after the folly that is Brexit – and England has become Little England again – the EU flags won’t go away. Probably just best not to tune if you don’t like them.

      • Novagerio says:

        Brian: Except that the EU is not a nation. It’s a banking and former trading conglomerate, ruled by an upper class of bureau-rats, commissioners and former mediocre politicians, and an economic trap.

        • Brian says:

          To be more precise, the EU is a community of nations, bound by the shared vision that they can accomplish more by working together than on their own. It helps keep the peace, allows for freedom of movement, and has raised living standards in many of the smaller, marginalized countries in Europe. Ironically, a lot of EU money has gone to support the very small towns in the UK whose residents voted for Brexit in 2016.

          • Wesley says:

            It’s not “EU money” if it’s the UK that’s provided the money in the first place. The UK is the second-largest net contributor. You expect us to fund projects and infrastructure around Europe and then be grateful for the return of a few meagre crumbs that we are allowed to spend on our own people.

          • Novagerio says:

            Brian, keep on dreaming dear lad. You must be born in the early 90’s…

          • Wally francis says:

            Strictly speaking Brian it’s our money given to the EU which they then pay back to us.

            We are a net looser in pure monetary terms.

            Now don’t go jumping to conclusions, I’m a Leaver and a Remainer i.e. an Absolutist

            As an absolutist we either are FULLY in with no silly opt-outs – or completely out. No half measures and compromising doesn’t work. I think, but am not certain,
            that the Lib Dems are also for fully remain.

        • Stereo says:

          And an organisation we wouldn’t be a member of had we not all been conned by that crook Edward Heath all those years ago.

      • Ian Wilkinson says:

        Amazing how any American has the cheek to comment on other nations flying their little flags!

        By the way, just look at a map – we have always been little England.

      • Paul Brownsey says:

        I used to tell American friends the Last Night flagwaving was ironic. It seems to have become less so, if the comments on the Youtube clips of Last Nights are anything to go by.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      The clue is the BBC. They are activists not journalists and the whole organization has gone Woke. Revolting doesn’t even cut it. Don’t you just love activism on the public purse?

      All this is becoming very reminiscent of the old Soviet project, day by day.

      • Laurence says:

        Save us from Stalinism, dear Sue Sonata! Only reactionaries like you can do it!

      • Micaelo Cassetti says:

        Spot on !
        The BBC is the VierterReichssender.
        Even Jean-Claude Juncker is now telling Verhofstadt to wind his neck in.

        Re the concert itself…I fell asleep before the end of the Offenbach; does no-one have the imagination to programme any Auber overtures, or even Suppe ?? Plenty of both.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    I was at a real concert at the Wigmore Hall so caught most of this rubbish this morning. Politically correct wall to wall mediocrity. Of course the BBC website was telling us how everyone just loved it. Nauseating Stalinist self-congratulation by third rate failures.

  • Novagerio says:

    I have seldom agreed more with you than now Norman !
    Spot on 100% !!

  • Garry Humphreys says:

    Quite apart from the Last Night – which I missed, and won’t be catching-up on – the general presentation on television this year has been awful – not the music, but the bits in between: too much chit-chat, banal comment from too many nonentities, too much everyone-talking-at-the-same-time, too much grinning and gurning (you know who you are!), etc., not to mention Tom Service’s attempts to cram as many words as possible into every minute, even though they became incomprehensible.

    In the past we have had illuminating and fascinating comment from the likes of Robert Saxton (in particular) and others. Please stop patronizing the viewers, BBC! Let the music speak for itself, with just a little guidance from informed musicians, then I won’t have to keep leaving the room between each piece.

    At the concerts I actually attended, I was struck by the unoccupied spaces of the arena, nothing like when I first began Promming in the late-1960s when the stentorian tones of Bill calling ‘Gallewy only!’ were all too common as the arena queue approached the door!

  • Claudio says:

    Never has the gammonness of this blog’s readership been as evident as in the comments to this post. If you dislike it so much, stay home next year and believe me you will not be missed.

    • Laurence says:

      Well, if anything good has come from all these comments, they have forced me to google the term “gammon”, of which I was previously unaware. It promises to be rather useful! If the ham fits…

    • Peter says:

      Yep, amused by the hysterical reaction from people who probably spend their spare time ranting about alleged left-wing snowflakes. Quite the irony that they should prove, yet again, to be so easily offended.

  • Louise says:

    Utter rubbish! I thought it was the best in the long time largely down to Jamie Barton who was totally magnificent. No need for OTT flouncy frocks because her voice did all the work and her sheer delight in being there was a joy to see.
    I loved the choice of programme. The De Falls was fun, the opening work accessible unlike some of the other commissions and the BBC singers sang so well.
    It was a great evening!

    • Novagerio says:

      They should spare the bust of Sir Henry Wood the embarrassment and put a bust of Jose Manuel Barroso and that rat-face Tony Blair instead. Remember, there was both a UK and a Europe before 1993 and 2006, despite what many juvenile hardcore federalists and other speculating fatalists think today (!)

    • Stereo says:

      Yes she has a great voice but as music lovers we are not interested in her or any other performers sexual preferences. The Henry Wood proms has always been and should remain about high quality music making.

  • Caravaggio says:

    “Rule, Britannia!” is sufficiently archaic, offensive and embarrassing on its own. Inserting a gay pride component to the evening only heaped absurdity upon ridicule.

  • John Mcveod says:

    Norman – I have to agree! I’ve seen enought ‘last nights’ over the years to say this was pretty dull. To plug one’s sexuality on an occasion such as this is completely uncalled for. Worst of all, to put a brand new BBC commission at the head of it all (I’m not commenting on the piece as such) was a big mistake!

    • Rodney Greenberg says:

      Nothing new about putting a controversial new commission at the head of the second half of the Last Night of the Proms. I directed eight of them for television and the one that made disgusted and baffled viewers turn off until the Sea Songs arrived was in 1995, when Proms Controller John Drummond proudly scheduled Panic by Harrison Birtwistle at the start of part 2 on BBC1.

      This jammed the BBC switchboard and generated virulent abuse from viewers. I don’t recall Drummond making clear at the time that the reason was logistical: the Birtwistle setup was so different from the rest of the night’s offerings that it needed the interval duration for stage hands to set up the instrumental and percussion areas. Plus quite some time to reset the stage afterwards. It seriously deflated the atmosphere for other than die-hard Birtwistle fans such as Drummond, who gleefully likened it to the scandalous premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

  • Hans van de Zanden says:

    May be…the BBC has the feeling that the definite last night of the proms will be there sooner than later, when Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (and Gibraltar) become independent, and little England can’t afford the Proms any more…..what remains is WHY?

  • Fan of all that is quality says:

    A disgrace. The worst ever. I thought equality meant being defined for your talents in doing the job. The soloist is now defined for her sexuality not on her talents. BBC hang your head in shame. Dumbing down gone crazy and all in the name of political correctness.

  • asylumkeeoer says:

    Next year’s LNOTP’s is moving a few hunrdred yards – to the Dinosaur Court of the Natural History Museum.

    What was missing? Why was the Haitinck Prom the highlight – and this dismal stream of tired old codswallop (‘with the bisexual soloist’) a fizzled failure?

    The Beeb is convening a Working Group to investigate. Caroline, Vanessa, Charles, Claude, and Simon have all been invited.

  • Blue Baby says:

    Wow, what a nasty review! Mr Lebrecht seems to be living somewhere around the 1950s.

  • Marc says:

    Next season, after Brexit has happened, should be a treat.

  • Derek says:

    The audience’s taste wasn’t ripe
    for stuff that had had so much hype.
    It lacked something festive;
    The audience grew restive
    And several thought it was tripe.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Spot on as you say! The Proms is a time for celebrating music not for making PC gestures, much as the BBC rejoices in them.

  • Godfrey M says:

    I know comparing apples with oranges but Proms in the Park London much more enjoyable apart from the patronising prosletysing video inserts from the cognoscenti in the RAH ..obviously preformed in daylight while dark in the Park.
    Short sharp sequence at the finale of hornpipe ,stch, LOHaG Jerusalem National anthem Auld Lang Syne and the lone piper with no politicsl points PS superb playing all afternoon in all genres from BBC Concert orchestra Bravo !

  • Tony Britten says:

    I follow SD and so am aware of the amount of vitriol that is unleashed about pretty much anything, musical or otherwise. But my goodness, am I the only follower who was pleased to see the number of EU flags on display and not incensed about the LGBT statements?

    What I enjoyed less was the amount of chat from ‘experts’ with Ms Derham and Mr Oramo’s anodyne speech. For the uninitiated, Oramo is actually a good conductor, but possibly muzzled by the BBC. Lets please bring a little energy in programming back and some Andrew Davis style bombast to the conductor’s speech?

  • Mart says:

    You are to social sensertive….Take the occasion for what it and enjoy life for what it has to offer.
    I feel you have lost it

  • Dr.Shirley Rombough says:

    I am not surprised at the response to this program. I should have wanted the program to have concentrated on real opera: Pucinni, Bizet, Wagner, Massenet, Verdi, and not being given bon bons. We can take the real thing.

    • MusicBear88 says:

      Miss Barton sang Bizet and Verdi in the first part of the program. She did the Habanera from Carmen and “O don fatale” from Don Carlo, as well as “Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix” from Samson et Dalila.

  • PaulD says:

    Barton’s performance seems part of her marketing. For her DC recital last season, she was promoted by her presenters as “proudly queer” .

    • Sanity says:

      But that’s exactly where the problem lies: she is much more than that. So much more! It baffles me to see a singer of her level falling like that into the identitarian madness trap.

  • Rob says:

    A total shambles of a last night, I switched off before the Elgar came on it was so depressing and the yapping presentation!!

    Terrible programming. Actually a terrible season altogether with the exception of Haitink.

    Please bring back Andrew Davis.

  • Curtis Rittenhouse says:

    OK. Norman. Your message is clear. Attendance for 2019 is down. The last night soloist, who felt compelled to make a personal statement, did herself and the audience no favors. The programming could have been better. The last night speech was boring. So was the conducting. Let’s add that some of the programs this year would not likely inspire most dedicated promenaders to get up and head to the Albert Hall. Has the Proms gone the way of the typewriter? This may be the one thing we cannot lay at the feet of Boris Johnson. Norman, if a reboot is needed, give us a hint what it should look like and if it is a real boot, whose derriere should it be aimed at?

  • Craig says:

    The Last Night sucks, but those of you who are comfortable in your opinions that politics should never get mixed in with music are in for a rude awakening over the next few years. Art is, and always has been, political.

  • James says:

    It’s funny how all these people who yell “SNOWFLAKE!” at anyone who complains about racism, sexism, or sexual harassment by a famous artist are so triggered by a rainbow flag.

  • Andrew Condon says:

    From reading the comments above I’m glad I gave it a miss. For quite a few years now one of the few (if not only) redeeming features of the Last Night for me has always been the cello solo of Susan Monks in the Henry Wood Sea Songs. A true artist.

    • Stereo says:

      Absolutely right. Susan Monks is a star and was the high point in an otherwise terrible evening on most fronts. We tuned in to hear the music not to have a soloists sexual deviance S rammed Dow our throats.

  • Michel says:

    Good ! Little England dreams to “rule the waves” once again (after the Brexit, of course) but realises that… it’s time has passed (at last !!). Poor Little England …

  • Edgar says:

    Too bad Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” wasn’t performed as the only fitting piece on this year’s Last Night of the Proms. Auf Englisch. It would have quite appropriate 😉

  • MusicBear88 says:

    I thought that Miss Barton sounded at her best in “O Don Fatale.” “Rule Britannia” doesn’t really suit her voice and it’s better when a lighter, more baroque-like voice sings it, but many others have sung it who ought not have done it. Many people have worn dresses and outfits with politics as part of them: Sarah Walker’s two incredible Union Jack dresses, Thomas Hampson’s Union Jack and US flag waistcoat, Sarah Connolly’s Nelson costume, but all of those were accepted even as they were occasionally tacky. Miss Barton wore a beautiful and unique couture gown and sang extremely well. If that ruffles some traditionalist tail feathers, so be it.

  • Kay Langford says:

    Opera singers have always asserted their individuality and power whenever they felt like it.

    If you don’t like the package, then don’t select the singer.

  • Enthalled says:

    Jamie Barton was amazing! Sorry that all of you tired curmudgeons can’t stomach a bit of identity proclaiming, and in 2019 no less. On second thought, I’m not sorry, because your antiquated “review(s)” have given me a great laugh. Good for Ms. Barton for having the courage to be proudly and uncompromisingly herself and to represent the LGBTQ+ Community with such warmth and lyricism on such a grand stage as the Last Night of the Proms. More of her! And less of you who live in the past, who long for the time when such vocal advocates would have been repressed.

    • Mathias Broucek says:

      Courage? In 2019? On-trend, more like. If she’d done it 30-40 years ago then THAT would have been very brave indeed….

      • Peter says:

        Actually, the virulent reaction here – in which a conga line of snowflakes reveal how threatened they are by a rainbow flag – demonstrates just why outspoken advocacy is still required.

        The only lack of bravery on display is from people who hide behind disingenuous rhetoric like “I don’t want [blah] rammed down my throat”, instead of having the guts to say what they really think. (Translation: “I’ll tolerate homosexuality, but only if I never have to be reminded that it so much as exists”.)

        • Stereo says:

          What rubbish.

        • Guest says:

          You display exactly the sort of prejudice you so revile. That is you pre-judge the comment to be intolerant of homosexuality, whereas the comment referred only to a forced political agenda.
          Hypocrisy was always the badge of those intolerant of the ‘intolerant’.

          • Peter says:

            A comment on this very page: “We tuned in to hear the music not to have a soloists sexual deviance S [sic] rammed Dow [sic] our throats.”

            The commenter’s only mistake was to be too hamfisted about it: most people who hold similar views are smart enough to avoid terms like “sexual deviance”. I am quite happy to be intolerant toward that kind of intolerance.

            The reality is that heterosexuality features many, many times more prominently in public life than other types of sexuality. Yet only the latter are ever the subject of loud complaints about being “rammed down our throats”. The obvious explanation is that the complainers feel a sense of disgust or intolerance toward them, and are thus bothered when they are reminded of their existence. And that is why outspoken advocacy is still required.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Maybe most of the people who objected to the singer being a bit loud about her sexuality also found the comments about “sexual deviance” rather offensive.

            Personally I find the audience flag waving equally nauseating. But then again, the Last Night of the Proms is not really something I would ever attend or watch on television.

          • Sanity says:

            Spot on!

    • christopher storey says:

      I doubt whether it would be possible to have much more of her

    • Stereo says:

      Our gay friends who are music lovers are appalled at this sort of display which makes us think that a lot of these people are jumping on the LGBT bandwagon just to be part of the in crowd.

      • Peter says:

        Your mask slipped on this very page when you described LGBT+ as a “sexual deviance”. Nobody should trust you to be a reliable spokesperson for the opinions of your “gay friends”, if indeed you have any “gay friends” at all.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    It seems the modern arm of the old soviet politburo, the BBC, doesn’t agree with you. If you don’t call this ‘activism’ then how else would you describe it?

  • Neil Thompson Shade says:

    Listening to Radio 3 as this American does daily while at work I had to pause during Ms Barton’s interview with Sean Rafferty several weeks ago describing her dress and ‘coming out’ for the Proms. As Charlie Brown said to Lucy, ‘good grief’ and as Lucy said to Schroeder, ‘that’s not music’ pretty much summarized my views listening to the pomp and silliness that is The Last Night of the Proms.

  • Guest says:

    The BBC is looking so hard up its own rear end it has completely smothered its own head. I don’t want this leftist, sanctimonious, politically correct twaddle rammed down my throat in a concert.
    Lots of hugs and back slapping in the planning meetings no doubt.

  • Graeme Withers says:

    For a brief look at the awful Rule Britannia, try

  • Gustavo says:

    A 100 % home-made pancake night.

    Ultimately caused by Brexiteers making a complete nation go gaga.

  • Will Duffay says:

    I thought Jamie Barton sang beautifully. What a voice!

    And I was absolutely delighted to see so many EU flags and hats. For once the true feelings of the British people in 2019 were shown, unfiltered through the blinkered zenophobia of the hideous right-wing press. It’s been hilarious seeing the outrage on twitter, with all the anti-democratic Brexiters having to suddenly see that theirs is not the only opinion.

    I’d agree that Barton made less of the 2nd half than previous singers, however. And that the last night is now just a bit rubbish. Personally I’d drop that flabby Britten arrangement of the national anthem.

    • Dave says:

      You dipped a bit in the last paragraph, Will. The Britten version of the QE2 song knocks the others into a cocked hat – at least the first verse does. But yes, LNOP is now a bit rubbish, though if it stirs up some comedy outrage in brexiteerland it’s still worth something.

    • Decanibass says:

      EU flags, free… Union Jacks, £3.50… hmmm, I wonder why so many more EU flags? The true feelings of the British people, obvs 🙂

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Why can’t you accept that Britain is bitterly divided on the issue of Brexit. About half want to stay and half want to leave. Whatever happens on 31 October will not resolve that division: if Britain stays then it will have to deal with the grievances of those who want to leave.

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    ‘The tedious forest of EU flags seemed faintly disloyal in the circumstances.’ Here we go again: ‘disloyal’ to wave the EU flag. Yeah, right. And why exactly is it ‘disloyal’ to wave the flag when the UK is a member of the European Union. It is our flag. Personally, I would axe the Last Night’, with its jingoism, sentimentality and vulgarity: the BBC bosses should have had the guts to tell Malcolm Sargent to behave himself and to hell with populism.

  • Michael Turner says:

    Other than the superb piece by Laura Mvula, the sheer beauty of Elgar’s Sospiri, and a brilliant performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, this year’s Last Night of the Proms was just simply drab. Such a shame.

  • retro says:

    Let’s make one thing clear. The BBC didn’t hand out EU flags. We, individuals and groups in the audience, independently decided to bring EU flags because we wanted to. It was our decision.
    But brexiters, who are so keen on talking about “the will of the people” and about freedom of speech, now seem to want to oppress anyone that decides to carry an EU flag. Talk about double standards. The right always making fun of leftist “snowflakes”, but some people here are massively offended because they saw an EU flag?
    Don’t forget that just as there were 17.4 million people who voted to leave, there were also 16.1 million who voted to remain. It just so happens that a lot of people who support staying in the EU also attend the Proms. But I guess if brexiters had their way, we would have our flags taken away and we wouldn’t be allowed into the Royal Albert Hall.

    • Dave says:

      The BBC certainly didn’t hand out EU flags. You’d be very hard put to spot anything EU worn on stage, because the EU flag is outlawed there as a ‘political symbol’. Somehow, the UK flag is not a political symbol.

    • Stereo says:

      The union flag has been a national emblem for centuries and not a political statement. Many people who were waving the union flag weren’t necessarily
      right wing leavers but enjoying the tradition of the LNOP.

      • Dave says:

        It has been a national emblem for centuries but recent events have made it a political symbol. The next but one referendum should be about what we replace it with. A banana would be doubly appropriate.

  • Dave says:

    The problem with the LNOP nowadays is that it has little to do with Radio 3, everything to do with what the TV people want and nothing to do with music. All bits and pieces so the simpering, pointless Katie Derham (cue wrinkle nose) can do her chatshow thing. It’s almost as if the music is filling in the gaps in her show…

  • Disgusted says:

    In my opinion, she dissed the American flag by stating she knew a flag she could get behind, and then it wasn’t the.American flag, but a gay flag. I would never hire her ever for either concerts or opera, nor will I ever go to one of her performances. I don’t need to spend my money seeing a non-patriotic performer who thinks she is doing what is popular in liberal circles—dissing the American flag. Jamie Barton, you are disgusting, ill-mannered and immature. I hope your career tanks.

  • DW says:

    The ‘Last Night of the Proms’ is not actually a concert; it is a party, the chance to share a love of classical music with fun, jollity and occasionally joining in with the singing. It has become a national tradition, and attempts to politicise it miss the point entirely. If it is to continue, it needs more can-can and less no-no, and perhaps more opportunities for the audience to join in.

  • Paul Brownsey says:

    “me-me-gay-me soloist Jamie Barton ”

    She’s not gay. Do try for accuracy.

  • BrianB says:

    Oramo’s conducting was dispirited, dull and indifferent. Barton (and he) were completely at sea in “O don fatale.” You’d have thought it was a berceuse.

  • John Rawnsley says:

    Yep, I couldn’t agree more Mr Lebrecht – bullseye!!

  • S. A. Cook says:

    As an individual who has watched productions via computer, I was disappointed in actual attendance, including witnessing a person’s personal political convictions displayed from the stage.

  • S.A. Cook says:

    On one issue, the presence of EU flags, it was an organized effort, as was obvious, standing in front of the Royal Albert Hall. While there could have been, there was no passing out of the Union Jack.