Breaking: BBC Proms lose Last Night star

Breaking: BBC Proms lose Last Night star


norman lebrecht

September 09, 2020

The international violinist Lisa Batiashvili has withdrawn from the Last Night of the Proms ‘due to illness’.

She will be replaced by Nicola Bendetti, who has already starred in the series.

No-one at the BBC had the wit to come up with another name.

This year’s brief Proms series has turned, by luck and bad judgement, into a shambles.

A Post Mortem is required at BBC board level.



  • tomtom says:

    Perhaps the comment is a little unfair to Nicola Benedetti. In the circs she’s doing a fab job.

    • Adam Nagel says:

      but she has already appeared this season. I still feel the best thing to do would be completely scrap rule Britannia and replace it with I though to thee my country and perform Land of Hope and Glory as no doubt Elgar would have preferred it Pomp and Circumstance March No.1. As they currently stand both items are a complete insult to Britain and its population now.

      • Colin says:

        “As they currently stand both items are a complete insult to Britain and its population now.”

        That is for them to decide, not you.

        • Adam Nagel says:

          We the British public should decide as opposed to a bunch of old stick in the mud fudie dudies not even the conductor as happy about the pieces lawd knows what the south African soprano will think

      • Ellingtonia says:

        “As they currently stand both items are a complete insult to Britain and its population now.”…………..and your evidence for this is?

    • James says:

      Oh dear. Lisa Batiashvili to Nicola Benedetti. Sad times indeed. I would have thought the Proms could have come up with a more interesting solution. I’m
      afraid Benedetti is an over rated – attention seeking – violinist. And, yes, I have heard her a number of times.

      • I do not think that berating Nicola Benedetti for having agreed to sub on a short notice for a cancellation is in any way fair. Plus, do you really think that Lisa is better? They are very much of the same – high – level players. Of course, I’d be happier if they had my nephew Marc Bouchkov come in as a sub )) but that will come in good time.

      • The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber says:

        James, whatever you think of Nicola Benedetti’s playing – and I recognise people’s tastes differ – I’m not prepared to let the suggestion that she is ‘attention seeking’ go.

        I had the good fortune to work with her a few years ago (conducting for a performance of Glazunov’s Violin Concerto) and she could not have been more self-effacing and professional.

        This experience has been shared by other conductors I know. To the extent she has sought the spotlight, she has used her fame to draw attention to the lack of provision of music education, in which field she has managed to get some impressive results, especially in Scotland.

        She’s a serious artist dedicated to what she does and I think your description is unwarranted.

    • V. Lind says:

      Second substitution she has made this Proms. I call that very gutsy.

      Buy wasn’t three an available Kanneh-Mason?

    • Ankie Postma says:

      I totally agree. Why so negative?

  • J Morris Jones says:

    Nothing against Nicola B, as I’m sure she’ll do a great job.

    I recall that a few years ago at this concert, the concerto was the Grieg piano concerto, played by Percy Grainger on a piano roll, acc. by the orch. A cardboard cutout of Grainger was prominently placed on the stage during the performance.

    Perhaps the equipment and piano roll could be held in perpetuity by the BBC so that it can be handily placed to serve in the event of any future cancellation.

  • Gareth Jones says:

    I’ve enjoyed the Proms this year and think the BBC has done rather well in the circumstances. Given that this is a time of enormous crisis for the world I think that there are more important things to worry about. All good wishes to Nicola Benedetti for her performance on Friday.

  • Jonathan says:

    To be fair, in these strange times any replacement had to be from the UK or from the diminishing list of countries not subject to quarantine. Obviously people have different opinions of relative merits of various options – but Benedetti clearly counts internationally as a “name” violinist even if UK audiences do generally seem to value exotic (=overseas) soloists over home-grown ones.

  • Tom says:

    This could have been an opportunity to showcase the BBC’s homegrown and fine violinists who are greater players than Nicola Beneddeti. They would probably cost far less, but the quality would be better. It’s typical of the BBC. So called “star” names that the BBC force on us really aren’t all that.

  • Mark says:

    Nicola Benedetti ? I thought she would be too white and too female for the present day promenade concerts.

  • Mathias Broucek says:

    Batiashvili bailed last year (Gil Shaham stepped in)

  • Rab C Nesbit says:

    The Londonistan based Proms are inaccessible to those living in the shires and the devolved regions.

    Cov-19 should be the driver to put them all on the telly at last so we can watch with a bag of crisps and a beer in comfort. The BBC diversity policy is a disaster for culture.

    Just think you would be reaching audiences who have never heard any classical music. Nicola by the way is phoar especially playing Monti’s Czardas!

  • Mark (London) says:

    Wish Nicola was playing Elgar Violin at last night

  • J. Reeve says:

    The BBC is an economical overpaid company and needs a dramatic change.

  • Jonathan says:

    Having commented above, I thought I should watch the “Last Night” on the TV tonight. To be honest, I think it would be difficult to complain about Benedetti’s performance of The Lark Ascending. Though the real plaudits must go to the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Stasevska whose tone and ensemble was a triumph given the challenges of reduced forces and 2 metre distancing.

    I could have done without the “zoom” images of people being silly in their living rooms though!