Tum tum ta-ta ta tum tum. Another year, another glorious line-up of classical music concerts. Get ready as seated tickets for the Proms go on sale at 9am on Saturday May 17. The programme opens with Elgar’s Biblical oratorio ‘The Kingdom’ on July 18 and waves us off on September 13 with the traditional Last Night flurry of Union Jacks, bow ties and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ (you recognised that above, didn’t you?) sung to Elgar’s stirring Pomp and Circumstance March No 1.
In 2014 the Proms commemorate World War I with special events including a ‘War Horse’ Prom featuring the National Theatre production’s puppets and the Military Wives Choir (August 3) and Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ (August 21). Global classical music is well-represented, with first appearances by orchestras from China, Lapland, Qatar and South Korea. Paloma Faith features in a late-night prom (September 5) and there are two family Proms at which some of CBeebies’ best-loved characters will make an appearance (July 26 and 27).
The Proms – or ‘the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC’ if we’re being formal – have been running since 1895. Though it wasn’t until last year that a female conductor – Marin Alsop – secured the honour of conducting the Last Night of the Proms for the first time. Otherwise, it’s a particularly inclusive series, the tradition of £5 tickets on the door opening it up to those with more stamina than cash. ‘Prommers’, who stand throughout the performance, can queue for individual concerts (with up to 1,400 standing places available for each) or opt to buy a weekend pass or a whole- or half-season ticket (available from 9am on Friday May 16). And all the concerts except those on the last night are half-price for those under 18. Bravo! Sara O’Reilly