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Prom concerts with physical audiences and patriotic last-night stompers will be back this summer, with a season organisers hope will be “curtain up” on the return to live music as we knew it.
While a normal season features about 90 concerts over eight weeks, last year just 14 concerts played to an empty Royal Albert Hall. The BBC said the plan this summer was for 52 concerts over six weeks, with audiences. “And we pray it will be a full audience,” said the Proms director, David Pickard.
Last year’s pandemic Proms were overshadowed by a row over a plan to have orchestral versions of Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory on the last night.
Many people welcomed the prospect of not hearing the line, “Britain never, never, never shall be slaves”, because of its perceived associations with colonialism and slavery.
After a backlash the BBC performed a U-turn and said they would be sung as normal.
Pickard said it had been a challenging time. “On a positive level, it reminded us all of just how important the Proms are to people in this country. We shouldn’t forget that people really care about what we do and have really strong opinions. Personally I would rather that than people couldn’t care less.”
It was also “disappointing for us that more was not made of what we achieved last summer because it was pretty miraculous”.
Proms are normally planned years in advance but Pickard said this year’s season was started from a blank sheet of paper six months ago.
An early decision was taken to not have the usual smattering of glamorous international orchestras which means, Pickard said, “a great opportunity to say ‘this is going to be about British music making’.” He hopes the season will be “the preview, the lead into, the curtain up” on the return to live music in front of full audiences.
Highlights include a family concert by the Kanneh-Mason siblings and the author Michael Morpurgo of The Carnival of the Animals; and the Aurora Orchestra performing Stravinsky’s The Firebird from memory. Four “mystery” Proms will be announced closer to the time.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Proms to welcome back live audiences for 52 concerts over six weeks | Proms