The BBC announced tonight that Rule Britannia will not be sung on the Last Night of the Proms, following a protest by its Finnish guest conductor Dalia Stasevska.
The press release follows. The BBC will allow the tune to be played but not sung, thereby offending all shades of opinion all of the time. They are calling it ‘a collective decision’.
There is no excuse for such cowardice. At least one BBC head should roll.
Here’s what happened earlier today.
BBC statement: In light of the recent speculation about the Last Night of the Proms, we are today announcing the programme for the concert. We very much regret the unjustified personal attacks on Dalia Stasevska, BBC Symphony Orchestra Principal Guest Conductor made on social media and elsewhere. As ever, decisions about the Proms are made by the BBC, in consultation with all artists involved.
The Proms will reinvent the Last Night in this extraordinary year so that it respects the traditions and spirit of the event whilst adapting to very different circumstances at this moment in time. With much reduced musical forces and no live audience, the Proms will curate a concert that includes familiar, patriotic elements such as Jerusalem and the National Anthem, and bring in new moments capturing the mood of this unique time, including You’ll Never Walk Alone, presenting a poignant and inclusive event for 2020.
The programme will include a new arrangement by Errollyn Wallen of Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem alongside new orchestral versions of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 “Land of Hope and Glory” (arr. Anne Dudley) and Rule Britannia! as part of the Sea Songs, as Henry Wood did in 1905.