Last Night of the Proms

Last Night of the Proms

One of the cultural highlights of the year for me is the Last Night of the Proms.  I've always watched it on TV, attended my first LNOP in 2015, went to my first Proms in the Park in 2016, and was lucky enough to be there in person at the Royal Albert Hall again last year on 9 September.  Three excellent years on the trot of crowd-pleasing classical favourites, waving flags, rousing national anthems, a joyous orchestra and a slightly raucous crowd.  The BBC Proms is the largest classical music festival in the world, and its famous last night is the perfect celebratory way to bring two months of live concerts to a close.

Last Night of the Proms 2017 - UK lifestyle & culture blog

The 2017 concert was led by Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo, Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who paid tribute to his fellow countryman with a choral version of Jean Sibelius' Finlandia!, and gave an impassioned speech about the power and importance of classical music, calling it one of humanity's greatest achievements, which still moves and inspires today.  Hear, hear.

This year, the auditorium was filled with EU flags - I'm a patriotic Brit, but I was proud to be waving my 12 gold stars too - an ode to unity made even more poignant with the multi-cultural crowd from all over Europe and the world who won tickets in the ballot, and showing screens from around the UK from over the road in Hyde Park, Glasgow Green in Scotland, Singleton Park in Wales, and Castle Cooln in Northern Ireland. 

After the interval (glass of Laurent Perrier, please!), it's time for the classics performed every year kicking off with Sir Henry Wood's arrangement of the Fantasia on British Sea Songs medley, complete with bobbing audience, and the patriotic Rule, Britannia!, led by Swedish soprano Nina Stemme.  The goosebump-inducing finale of showstoppers continues with Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March including Land of Hope of Glory No 1 in D, William Blake's iconic Jerusalem (which I am incapable of singing along to without a lump in my throat), the National Anthem, and finishing with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne by strangers linking arms and singing along together.  What a night.  Tickets go on sale in May of each year - (hopefully) see you there...

The 2018 Proms season starts on 13 July