Reviews Index
BBC Proms

Prom 74: Theodora @ Royal Albert Hall, London

by Sam Smith

Theodora is unusual among Handel’s compositions in that it has created more of a splash in the modern day than it ever did when it…



Prom 73: Before the Ending of the Day @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Whatever its other acoustic challenges, the Albert Hall usually accommodates unaccompanied singing quite well, and so it was with the Tallis Scholars’ exploration of Compline...

Prom 72: Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Oundjian @ Royal Albert Hall, London


In the various documentaries on Britten’s War Requiem that have been produced over the years there are always interviews with those who attended the first...

Prom 70: Tango Prom @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Tuesday’s Prom was billed as ‘a celebration of the heady, sexually charged Latin American tango’. Sadly, all sexuality had been ripped out of the art-form,...

Proms at Cadogan Hall 6: Soloists of the Berliner Philharmoniker @ Cadogan Hall, London


Once in a while the programme of a concert matches perfectly the mood and the weather. These gentle, lucent summer’s-end days call for light airy...

Proms at Alexandra Palace: Trial by Jury @ Alexandra Palace Theatre, London


‘Location, location, location’ is as important a maxim for performance venues as for anything else. Both the Royal Albert Hall and Alexandra Palace were constructed...

Prom 64: London Philharmonic Orchestra / Orozco-Estrada @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Although Hans von Bülow was being derogatory when he described Verdi’s Messa da Requiem as an ‘opera in ecclesiastical garb’ (he later retracted the remark),...

Proms at Cadogan Hall 7: Bernstein on Broadway and Beyond @ Cadogan Hall, London


If, as is often said, Benjamin Zephaniah could make a telephone directory sound like poetry, then it should come as no surprise that Leonard Bernstein...

Prom 58: The Sound of an Orchestra @ Royal Albert Hall, London


In 1958, Leonard Bernstein began presenting the Young People’s Concerts hosted by the New York Philharmonic. His ability to engage, educate and entertain without patronising...

Prom 52: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Gardner @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Edward Gardner is clearly ‘King of the Pause’. His ability (doubtless honed by his years as a conductor of opera) to understand the innate drama...

Proms at Cadogan Hall 6: BBC Singers / Oramo @ Cadogan Hall, London


Monday’s Cadogan Hall Prom saw the first pairing for an a cappella concert of the BBC Singers with the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s current Chief Conductor,...

Prom 46: National Youth Jazz Orchestra / Armstrong @ Royal Albert Hall, London


The influences of Stravinsky were unmistakable in the world première of Laura Jurd’s The Earth Keeps Spinning: shifting tonalities, angular, abruptly curtailed fragments of melody...

Prom 44: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Morlot @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Some performances are inspiring and uplifting, while others can be merely businesslike, and, sadly, Wednesday night’s all-French Prom contained more of the latter than the...

Prom 41: BBC Symphony Orchestra / Gardner @ Royal Albert Hall, London


A perfect storm of Proms themes and anniversaries this year has allowed the programming of several works by Lili Boulanger. And hurrah for that, as...

Prom 38: West Side Story @ Royal Albert Hall, London


John Wilson’s musical-theatre Proms are always much anticipated (and, in recent years, have been given matinee and evening billings); Saturday’s first Proms performance of the...

Prom 33: BBC Symphony Orchestra / Farnes @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Thea Musgrave’s Phoenix Rising swirls into life from the outset – it is almost as if the listener walks into a room where an argument...

Proms at Cadogan Hall 4: Sarah Connolly / Joseph Middleton @ Cadogan Hall, London


Monday’s lunchtime Prom – featuring Dame Sarah Connolly and her regular accompanist Joseph Middleton – explored the world of lullabies, dreams and insomnia in a...

Vanessa @ Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lewes


When Samuel Barber’s Vanessa premiered in New York in 1958 it was the first new American work to appear at the Metropolitan Opera in eleven...

Prom 28: National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain / Benjamin @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Saturday evening’s Prom was essentially an exploration of orchestral texture, and the NYO – fielding, as ever, an impressive stageful of teenage musicians, including a...

L’incoronazione di Poppea @ Longborough Festival Opera, Longborough


L’incoronazione di Poppea is a rather odd creation, given that it does not present the same tale of morality as lies at the heart of...

Prom 22: BBC Scottish SO / Manze @ Royal Albert Hall, London


Pairing two ‘London’ symphonies (Haydn’s 104th and Vaughan Williams’ 2nd) seems like a neat programming idea in terms of theme. There’s also certainly a contrast...