BBC omits soloists from Proms 1st night programme

BBC omits soloists from Proms 1st night programme


norman lebrecht

August 01, 2021

Whether by oversight or uncertainty about who would turn up, the BBC failed to print the singers’ names in Serenade to Music in the opening night’s programme.

Really bad form.

The omitted singers were: Elizabeth Llewellyn, Jess Dandy, Allan Clayton and Michael Mofidian


  • Harry Mills says:

    This actually comes from the Proms prospectus, printed months ago. At the time neither the complete programme or soloists had been confirmed.

    • Peter Macklin says:

      I was there and I can assure you that they were fully credited in the ‘programme’ on the night, photos and everything! What a ridiculous criticism to make Norman!

      • norman lebrecht says:

        The picture I have posted is from the programme sold on the night in the Royal Albert Hall.

        • Peter Macklin says:

          Wrong Norman, I have both the Proms guide and the programme sold on the night and the picture you have posted is definitely from the former not the latter. The list of programme items in your picture doesn’t even include the main item in the second half of the concert, Sibelius 2nd Symphony!

        • Philip says:

          This is simply not true! The picture is taken from the Proms Guide not the programme book sold on the night. The continual anti-BBC bias on this site is not wanted especially when supported by lies and distortion.

        • Paul Wells says:

          Then it’s rather odd that it says “Programme to include…”

        • Backrowbass says:

          Well it looks identical to the entry in the prospectus, right down to the cropped photos of artists appearing at subsequent proms. If, as you say, it is from the actual concert programme, there is a more serious omission – Sibelius Symphony No. 2!

        • Near the top of the photo above is “Programme to include” and it looks to me more like a page in the brochure for the whole Proms season than from the actual programme for Friday 2021-07-30. At the bottom of the photo above is “See ‘A Gift to the Nation’, pages 36-41”, which should conclusively show whether the SlippedDisc photo is from the 2021-07-30 Friday programme, or from another source, likely the Proms season brochure?

          How much would you like to bet that the SlippedDisc photo really is from the 2021-07-30 Friday programme, and not from another source (likely the Proms season brochure)? I’ll give you odds of 10/1 against, for a stake of up to £10, winnings or stake to go to the UK charity of the winner’s choice.

        • Anon says:

          The clue is on the words “Programme to include…”

          It’s the brochure published a couple of months back. It was probably still purchasable in the hall on the night. Your informant is confused.

          …and your vendetta is dull.

        • Angela says:

          Really? The layout and copy in that excerpted column looks very much like the Proms festival guide (prospectus, if you like), not an actual programme for the performance. Maybe they are selling the festival guide at concerts too but that still doesn’t make it “the programme”. Others have commented that there was in fact a programme that did credit everyone.

        • V.Lind says:

          So how did Peter Macklin see them in his programme? Was there an insert?

          Cancellations have abounded this summer, so perhaps your notion about “uncertainty about who would turn up” is the reason.

        • MICHAEL HORWOOD says:

          It does not even mention the Sibelius symphony and is sketchy about the new work. I doubt, therefore, whether it is really from the proper programme.

        • IC225 says:

          I fear you’ve been misinformed. I was there on Friday, I have a copy of the programme in front of me and the artists are all credited. The page in your picture does not appear anywhere in the programme book sold at the concert.

        • Hornbill says:

          Perhaps you were confusing the programme for the night with the season overview book which they may also have been selling “on the night” and which, incidentally, has some rather good articles about the season as a whole.

        • MJA says:

          If the picture posted was from the concert programme sold on the night, then why does it also make no reference to the major concluding work on Sibelius 2? This, is spite of its being apparently at least 41 pages long (cf “See ‘A Gift to the Nation’, pages 36-41”). Baffling.

        • Garry Humphreys says:

          Looks like the Prospectus to me!

        • violafan says:

          You are such a fool.

        • Chrissy says:

          It is definitely from the full proms guide (clue is the ‘see Gift to the Nation’ pages 36-41, which is an article in…the proms guide!!).

          Did someone buy this on the night thinking it was a programme…?!

      • Mr Leon E. Bosch says:

        Peter, please post a copy of your programme here!

      • microview says:

        Anyway, who gives a sh*t today?

    • Herbie G says:

      Phew, thank goodness for making that clear, Harry. For a moment I thought that it marked a further BBC left turn along the route taken by schools that have banned competitve sports so that nobody’s name is recorded as a winner. I briefly envisaged next year’s Proms featuring only ‘The People’s International Egalitarian Orchestra’ and ‘Soloists from ‘The People’s Artists’ Vocal and Instrumental Collective’. All works would be composed by ‘The People’s Committee for Correct Music’. No conductor of course – that would be a throwback to the authoritarian, oppressive, elitist, slaver, imperialist running dogs. The hall would sport the bust of Brother Wood and huge posters of comrades Tim Davie, Alan Davey and Dave Pickard.

  • ICP says:

    Stir, stir, stir …

  • Anon says:

    At least Stasevska’s name is there. Nothing is more important than that.

  • Rob says:

    Maybe they were on the wrong programme.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    The page you are quoting looks like a page from the book produced in advance from which people can plot their attendances it’s not the actual on the night programme.

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    Strange that it states ‘Programme to include..’ and yet the main work of the night Sibelius 2 is not mentioned.
    As for the ‘missing’ soloists I thought they were mediocre. The Poulenc Organ concerto lacked humour and the MacMillan piece unimpressive. At least the inspiration level rose somewhat with said Sibelius symphony. All wrapped up by the usual glittering nobodies – surrounded by the most ghastly cheapo BBC decor – presenting it on tv. How standards have dropped in our new dumbed down Broken Broadcasting Corporation.

  • George Avory says:

    Clearly you’ve never had to organise a classical music festival, Norman, and never during a pandemic. The BBC have managed to organise a season against all the odds and actually got the thing up and running. Is it everything I’d want? No. Is it the best they could do under the circumstances? Surely it is. Stop being such a ungracious and petty misanthrope, it’s become a tiresome affectation.

  • Concerned says:

    Here is an image of the programme from the night

    Norman why are you doubling down ???

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    Daniel Hyde, the organist for the Poulenc, isn’t named either. Given Peter Macklin’s comment, the soloists were named in the ‘programme’ just not on the page NL posted above. Possible?
    Anyway, for heaven’s sake stop picking fights with the Beeb: we should be grateful that the 2021 Proms are happening at all. And it was a superb first night!

  • Una says:

    There should have been 16 solo singers as VW intended and how the Proms had done it in the past. Perhaps it was all last minute and not use 16 very able soloists in their own right from the BBC Singers as most of us were expecting. Certainly not four soloists to cut costs.

    • Steve says:

      The original version for sixteen soloists was envisaged for a particular performance where the luxury of those forces was going to be available. RVW also left versions for four soloists and chorus (as heard on Friday night) and for chorus and orchestra. I don’t have the stats to prove it, but I suspect, simply on cost grounds, that the version heard on Friday is used more frequently in the concert hall (as opposed to on recordings).

  • David says:

    Norman, do you have to learn the hard way and be sued for libel? When corrected, immediately retract, apologize, and correct. Isn’t this basic journalism?

  • Paul Henry says:

    Really bad form??

    There was obviously a good reason. Any programme insert available on the night?

  • Hornbill says:

    33 comments and counting show you are wrong. How about a gracious apology? And perhaps check your facts in future?

    Really bad form.