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It all started eight weeks ago. There have been 74 concerts here at
the Royal Albert Hall, thousands of musicians have been performing on
stage and tens of thousands of people have been queuing for
tickets. Now, well the party is already under way. It's the climax
of the 2011 summer music making season, it is the Last Night of the
Welcome to the Royal Albert Hall for the grandest of grand finales.
It's another sellout concert as nearly 6,000 people wait to
celebrate the end of another great season of Proms. Tonight, we'll
hear performances from two international soloists, in the
first half of the concert the superstar pianist Lang Lang will be
dazzling us with a performance of a Concerto by Liszt and Britain's
leading dramatic soprano Susan Bullock will be singing Wagner, a
scene from the end of his epic Ring cycle. This isn't just a concert
but a national occasion as we celebrate the Last Night with
events around the country. If you want to see what's happening at any
of those events you can press the red button on your remote control.
Getting under way across the road is the Prom in the Park in Hyde
Park. And in a few minutes Lang Lang will be performing on stage
there before rushing back to join us here in the hall.
But we start with a world premiere of a new work by the master of the
Queen's music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. It's been written as a
thank you to the promenaders in the arena and high up in the gallery
who after every concert collect money for musical charities. The
piece is called Musica Benevolens. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has
incorporated text written by the promenaders about what music means
to them. So, at the composer's request, the Prommers will take
On stage are the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony
Chorus and the leader of the orchestra is Andrew Haveron.
They're already and waiting for the conductor, Edward Gardner who at 36
is the youngest director to take charge of the Last Night of the
Proms since Henry Wood conducted the first Last Night in 1895. There
he is to open the final Prom of 2011 with Musica Benevolens by Sir
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 539 seconds
The world premiere of Musica Benevolens by Sir Peter Maxwell
Davies, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC
Symphony Chorus and the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Household
Division, conducted by Edward Gardner, and not forgetting, of
course, the enthusiastic contribution of the Prommers who
this year so far raised �74,000 for And there is Sir Peter Maxwell
Davies to take his bow. Just celebrated his 77th birthday a
couple of days ago and his prohrfic output shows no sign of slowing.
Wonderful character. His very first work was broadcast
on the BBC's Children's Hour when he was just 12 years old.
Now it's time for the Last Night tradition of honouring the founder
of the Proms, Sir Henry wood by placing a chaplet of Laurels on the
bust of the great man. Doing the honours for Sir Henry
this year two promenaders proudly taking their place up above the
choir. That's Nick Breckenfield giving Sir Henry a quick dust there.
Nick bought his first season ticket in 1989 and hasn't missed a year
since. With him Daffydd Price Jones, he started Promming 21 years ago
when his young daughter dragged him into the arena.
Hungarian composer Bartok completed his score for the ballet the Daily
Mirror the Mirror - for the Miraculous Mandarin in 1926. It was
premiered later that year, but the story of prostitution, robbery and
murder was considered so scandalous that after only one more
performance in Prague all future productions were banned. We are
going to hear the suite which Bartok fashioned from the ballet.
He made two short cuts and wrote a new ending. It's a real showpiece
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 539 seconds
and highly dramatic reflecting the The Miraculous Mandarin Suite by
Bela Bartok performed tonight by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with
Andrew Haveron and conducted by Edward Gardner. The ballet tells
the tale of a Chinese Mandarin coaxed into a brothel where he is
robbed, suffocated, stabbed and hung by three thugs but refuses to
die, hence the miracle, until he has embraced the woman who lured
him there. Gritty stuff. Since her first appearance at the
Proms in 1995 Susan Bullock has gone on to become one of the
world's leading dramatic Sopranos. She's been described as having a
turbo-charged voice and that's certainly what you need for singing
Wagner. In a few minutes she will sing the Immolation scene scene
from Gotterdammerung. She sings the role of the grieve stricken
Valkyrie Brunnhilde who with the magic ring on her finger leaps on
horseback on to the funeral pyre of her lover to destroy the ring and
save the world. We spoke to Susan about Wagner and
the physical and emotional When did you first hear Wagner?
first heard Wagner when I was sitting in my house as a young girl
and my brother came home from university and played it full blast
in his bedroom, we had no choice but to listen to it and eventually
I went in and sat there and followed the score and thout wow,
this is incredible. I was about 12 Tell us more about the complexity
of Brunnhilde as a character to play? To do the role is huge. I
mean, it is an Everest. Especially this piece, because you go through
such a huge journey as the character, from the girl who opens
the piece, the young woman in love, to the woman at the end and takes
charge of what is to be the future, the destiny of the world. It's a
huge journey. To do it in isolation in a concert is also demanding
because you have to try and get all that drama into the 20 minutes,
although people won't have seen the previous five hours. What is it
about Wagner that divides opinion so strongly? A lot of people just,
if you say the word Wagner they go oh, loud, screaming people. Long,
boring. You know, drawn out stories. If it's done properly it's actually
some of the most gripping theatre you will ever see. Of course,
normally the orchestra is in a pit and this time I have them all
behind me so to feel that wave of sound coming right at my back is
Live from the Royal Albert Hall, Katie Derham introduces the final concert of the 2011 Proms season. Conductor Edward Gardner takes to the podium for his first Last Night and is joined by two special guest soloists - Chinese pianist Lang Lang and Britain's leading dramatic soprano Susan Bullock.
Lang Lang is the soloist in Liszt's dazzling Piano Concerto No 1 and Susan Bullock sings the Immolation Scene from Wagner's epic Ring cycle. Bartok's suite from the Miraculous Mandarin provides a blast of exotic orchestral colour and the evening opens with a new work by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies paying tribute to the Promenaders fundraising efforts on behalf of the Musicians Benevolent Fund.
On stage are the combined forces of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Chorus. Plus, during the interval there are highlights of Lang Lang performing at Proms in the Park in Hyde Park.