Beneath many paragraphs of hype about rolling out old Proms from the archives, the BBC has given first details of the live two last weeks of this summer’s Proms, to be played before an empty Royal Albert Hall.
In the final two weeks of the Proms, from Friday 28 August, there will be a series of live performances from the Royal Albert Hall from some of the greatest musicians of our time alongside emerging talent. In what promises to be an emotional return to the Royal Albert Hall, the Proms presents a range of performances fulfilling our founding to mission to present ‘the best of classical music for the widest possible audience’
As the beating heart of the Proms, each of the BBC Orchestras will perform as part of the live element of the festival, and in long-standing Proms tradition, the BBC Symphony Orchestra will open and close the series, beginning with an opening night conducted by Chief Conductor, Sakari Oramo and culminating in a Last Night of the Proms to bring the nation together. Led by the BBC SO’s Principal Guest Conductor, Dalia Stasevska, the 2020 Last Night of the Proms features soprano Golda Schultz, in what promises to be a unique and poignant occasion.
Celebrating a wide range of musicians and music the line-up includes pianist Mitsuko Uchida with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle, violinists Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Jonathan Cohen, a recital from cello sensation Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his pianist sister Isata Kanneh-Mason, Aurora Orchestra led by Nicholas Collon, performances from pianist Stephen Hough, singers Sophie Bevan, Allan Clayton and Robert Murray and sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar with electronic artist Gold Panda and the Britten Sinfonia under Jules Buckley.
New Music is central to the Proms and a number of composers will be commissioned to write works that respond to the current world-wide situation caused by Covid-19. Composers include Thomas Adès writing a new piece for the LSO Prom and Andrea Tarrodi for the Last Night of the Proms. Alongside these works Richard Ayres explores Beethoven’s journey into deafness, as well as his own hearing loss, with a very personal new work performed by Aurora Orchestra.
The presenting team for the live TV performances includes Katie Derham, along with Tom Service, Suzy Klein, Danielle de Niese and Josie d’Arby.
Whilst it’s unlikely there will be an audience at the Royal Albert Hall, the live performances will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and iPlayer.
So – no foreign orchestras obviously, nor any orchestras except the BBC’s from outside London. Why’s that?
And no single traffic-stopping star.