Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Commentary

ETO Autumn 2020 Season Announcement: Lyric Solitude

English Touring Opera are delighted to announce a season of lyric monodramas to tour nationally from October to December. The season features music for solo singer and piano by Argento, Britten, Tippett and Shostakovich with a bold and inventive approach to making opera during social distancing.

Eight Songs from Isolation: first opera written for a socially distanced world

Conductor Oliver Zeffman has commissioned the very first opera for a socially distanced world, which is now available to watch exclusively on Apple Music. Eight Songs From Isolation has been written by eight leading composers, specifically for streaming - rather than live performance - and is the first opera written for a time when the performers were unable to meet in person.

Let Music Live

Leading freelance musicians unite in Parliament Square to call for targeted support for colleagues in the arts and entertainment sector.

Murphy & Attridge celebrate performers' humanity with a creative response to lockdown

Duo Lewis Murphy (composer) and Laura Attridge (writer) have launched a charitable song project entitled Notes From Isolation. The resulting songs, featuring some of the UK's top singing talent, are being released online between August and October 2020 and can be enjoyed free of charge.

The Royal Opera House unveils programme of new work alongside much-loved classics for live audiences this Autumn

The Royal Opera House is thrilled to announce an exciting, wide-ranging new line-up for its autumn programme. For the first time, extraordinary performances will be accessible online for a global audience through livestreams and for socially distanced live audiences at our home in Covent Garden. In a global first, we present a new opera in hyper-reality, alongside repertory favourites from both artistic companies.

Wexford Festival Opera Gala Concert - Remote Voices: as part of Waiting for Shakespeare …The Festival in the air

Some of the most famous and outstanding stars from the opera world are to take part in a very special evening from Wexford Festival Opera, including Aigul Akhmetshina, Joseph Calleja, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, Igor Golovatenko, Ermonela Jaho, Sergey Romanovsky, and many more.

OperaStreaming announces second season of nine new productions from the opera houses of Emilia-Romagna, free to view on YouTube

Following its successful launch in 2019, OperaStreaming streams nine operas on YouTube from the historic opera houses of Emilia-Romagna during the 2020-21 season, with fully-staged productions of Verdi's La traviata in October from Modena and Verdi'sOtello from Bologna in...

Connections Across Time: Sholto Kynoch on the 2020 Oxford Lieder Festival

‘A brief history of song’ is the subtitle of the 2020 Oxford Lieder Festival (10th-17th October), which will present an ambitious, diverse and imaginative programme of 40 performances and events.

Bampton Classical Opera 2020: Gluck's The Crown at St John's Smith Square

Bampton Classical Opera returns to the Baroque splendour of London’s St John’s Smith Square on November 6 with a concert performance of Gluck’s one-act opera The Crown, the first in the UK since 1987. The performance will also be filmed and available to watch on demand on the Bampton website from 9 November.

A new opera written during lockdown with three different endings to choose from to premiere this October as part of Wexford Festival Opera

While many of us spent lockdown at home taking it a little easier, composer Andrew Synnott wrote an opera.

Grange Park Opera presents Britten’s Owen Wingrave, filmed on location in haunted houses in Surrey and London

Owen Wingrave is part of the new Interim Season of 19 brand new events, all free to view online between September and December 2020.

Music and Theatre For All launches three major new projects supported by The Arts Council

The Arts Council has awarded innovative UK charity Music and Theatre For All (MTFA) a major new grant to develop three ambitious new projects in the wake of Covid 19.

English National Opera to reopen the London Coliseum with performances of Mozart’s Requiem

English National Opera (ENO) will reopen the London Coliseum to socially distanced audiences on 6 and 7 November for special performances of Mozart’s Requiem. These will provide audiences with an opportunity to reflect upon and to commemorate the difficulties the nation has faced during the pandemic.

The Royal Opera House launches autumn digital programme with a new series of Friday Premieres and screenings on Sky Arts

The Royal Opera House is proud to continue its curated #OurHouseToYourHouse programme into the autumn, bringing audiences the best of the ROH through a new series of Friday Premieres and cultural highlights.

Take a Bow: Royal Opera House opens its doors for the first time in six months as part of Open House London

After six months of closure, the Royal Opera House is thrilled to be opening its doors to the public as part of Open House London weekend, giving visitors a taste of one of the world’s most famous theatres for free.

Academy of St Martin in the Fields presents re:connect - a series of autumn concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is thrilled to announce re:connect - an eight concert series with live socially distanced audiences at its namesake church, St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The autumn concerts will take place at 5pm & 7:30pm on two Saturdays per month with guest artists including baritone Roderick Williams, soprano Carolyn Sampson and composer-conductor-pianist Ryan Wigglesworth performing a wide range of repertoire.

Connections Across Time: The Oxford Lieder Festival, 10-17 October 2020

Music and poetry unite and collide across centuries, from the Medieval to the Enlightenment to the present day. This year, the Oxford Lieder Festival will present a thrilling and innovative programme comprising more than forty events streamed over eight days.

The English Concert Autumn 2020 series: Handel and Purcell, Britain’s Orpheus

The English Concert with artistic director Harry Bicket is delighted to announce a series of concerts from 1-15 October 2020. The concerts take place in historic London venues with star soloists and will be performed and streamed live to a paying audience at 7pm GMT on each performance date. The programmes include first-class vocal and instrumental works from the two pillars of the English Baroque, covering different aspects of the repertoire.

Glyndebourne announces first indoor performances since lockdown, and unveils 2021 Festival repertoire

Glyndebourne has announced plans for a ‘staycation’ series of socially-distanced indoor performances, starting on 10 October 2020.

Royal Opera House announces autumn opera and ballet concerts

The Royal Opera House is delighted to announce two packed evenings of opera and ballet, live from our stage in Covent Garden and available to view wherever you are in the world online.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

03 Jul 2020

BBC Proms Announce 2020 Programme

From Bernstein to Benedetti, Haitink to Hvorostovsky, Mackerras to Kanneh-Masons, musical greats, from the past and the present, will be brought together in one extraordinary Proms season, 17 July - 12 September 2020.

  • BBC Radio 3 opens this summer’s ‘Fantasy Proms’ with a programme of great Proms moments including Iain Farrington’s world premiere for the BBC Grand Virtual Orchestra putting Beethoven’s symphonies in a spin
  • Nicola Benedetti, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Simon Rattle, Anoushka Shankar and Mitsuko Uchida, amongst artists performing live from the Royal Albert Hall
  • Live performances from the RAH to begin with a momentous opening night conducted by BBC Symphony Orchestra Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo
  • A unique Last Night to unite the world led by Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska with South African soprano Golda Schultz
  • BBC Four selects six momentous Proms from across the archive from the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Chineke! Orchestra
  • Katie Derham, Tom Service, Suzy Klein, Danielle de Niese and Josie d’Arby lead the line-up of TV presenters
  • An ambitious, challenging and celebratory multi-platform season

In the year that the Proms turns 125 years old, the 2020 season brings the spirit of the Proms to music-lovers at home. BBC Radio 3 and BBC Four broadcasts treasures from the past 30 years of the Proms across six weeks, before two weeks of incredible live performances at the Royal Albert Hall.

In challenging times, the BBC Proms aims to shine a beacon of hope with its mix of seminal moments from Proms history alongside live performances from the Royal Albert Hall. The season will bring a summer of music to celebrate a wealth of talent, genres and styles, creating a line-up which brings together legendary performers from the past through its unrivalled archive, with a diverse line-up of the biggest stars of the present and future.

The Proms Opening Weekend

BBC Radio 3 kicks off this special season with the debut performance by the BBC Grand Virtual Orchestra, comprising over 350 musicians from the BBC Orchestras and Choirs. Joining Beethoven Unleashed - a year-long, BBC-wide marathon marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the Grand Virtual Orchestra will perform a completely original arrangement of Beethoven’s nine symphonies, created by Iain Farrington. On Sunday 19 July the premiere of the film accompanying the piece will air on BBC Four. Farrington describes the work as “taking Beethoven's music and putting it in a musical washing machine to see which colours run”.

Following Farrington’s curtain-raiser, the First Night continues [on Radio 3] with highlights from three Proms across the past 25 years. The BBC Symphony Orchestra features both in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (with soloist Igor Levit, under Edward Gardner) from 2017’s First Night, and in the world premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Panic which won instant notoriety at the Last Night of the 100th-anniversary Proms season (1995). The evening closes with celebrated Italian conductor Claudio Abbado’s final Proms performance (2007), leading the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Anna Larsson in Mahler’s Third Symphony.

The Opening Weekend continues on BBC Four on Sunday 19 July, when audiences will have the opportunity to watch electrifying conductorMirga Gražinytė-Tyla lead the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in a programme of Beethoven, Stravinsky and Gerald Barry with violinist Leila Josefowicz and tenor Allan Clayton (2017).

Delving into the rich Proms archive

In the 125th-anniversary year of the Proms, audiences have the chance to reflect back on some of the outstanding performances and biggest moments in Proms history with a fantasy season celebrating the greats of the past and providing a snapshot of the ever-changing classical music scene of our times.

BBC Four, fronted by Katie Derham, will broadcast BBC Proms Classics, a range of blockbuster archive concerts each Sunday throughout the festival, presenting the breath-taking scale of orchestral power showcased on the Royal Albert Hall stage. The TV offering reflects innovative highlights such as the 2017 debut of Chineke! Orchestra, Europe’s first majority BME orchestra and the now-legendary 2007 Proms debut of theSimón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. BBC Four will also air the ground-breaking 2012 John Wilson Orchestra Prom that celebrated ‘The Broadway Sound’ sending the orchestra to new heights.

Rattle BBC Proms.jpgSir Simon Rattle © BBC/Chris Christodoulou.

Across the season, Radio 3 has curated a vast array of show-stopping archive performances covering four decades of unforgettable musical stories. Across six weeks there will be a wealth of big-name orchestras and conductors, including: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Leonard Bernstein; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Riccardo Chailly; Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons; Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Bernard Haitink; Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons; Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle; and soloists: Martha Argerich, Alfred Brendel, Dame Sarah Connolly, Renée Fleming, Maria Friedman, Dimitri Hvorostovsky, Janine Jansen, Evgeny Kissin, Jessye Norman, Murray Perahia, and Andreas Scholl.

As always, the season celebrates the many faces of classical music, with repertoire ranging from Beethoven toAnna Meredith, Varèse toMozart, Sally Beamish to Britten, Bach to Thomas Adès. It also presents the many talents that have made waves in an ever-changing scene. Amongst the treasure trove of performances on offer, Radio 3 will broadcast the 2015 Proms debut of composer and keyboard wizard Nils Frahm with ambient duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen; and the 2014 appearance of Jules Buckley conducting the Metropole Orkest with special-guest singers and composing sensations Laura Mvula and Esperanza Spalding.

The Afternoon Concert series on BBC Radio 3 will also feature some of the greatest Proms of the past 25 years given by the BBC Orchestras and Choirs.

This year also sees the first ever TV broadcast of the hugely popular Radio 1 Ibiza Prom from 2015, featuring Pete Tong, Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra, who transformed dance classics into orchestral masterpieces with the help of John Newman and Ella Eyre (BBC Four, Friday 28 August).

On BBC Radio 3, presenter Georgia Mann will host a new Sunday-evening programme that looks ahead to each week’s array of archive Proms. She’ll be joined by a selection of guests to preview the vintage performances, to recall behind-the-scenes stories of the concerts and to recommend highlights to look out for.

Radio 3 will also be broadcasting some of the most stimulating pre-Prom public events that have been held over the past decade, with great interviews and conversation from leading musicians, artists, actors and writers.

Live performances from the Royal Albert Hall

In the final two weeks of the Proms, from Friday 28 August, there will be a series of live performances from the Royal Albert Hall from some of the greatest musicians of our time alongside emerging talent. In what promises to be an emotional return to the Royal Albert Hall, the Proms presents a range of performances fulfilling our founding to mission to present ‘the best of classical music for the widest possible audience’

As the beating heart of the Proms, each of the BBC Orchestras will perform as part of the live element of the festival, and in long-standing Proms tradition, the BBC Symphony Orchestra will open and close the series, beginning with an opening night conducted by Chief Conductor,Sakari Oramo and culminating in a Last Night of the Proms to bring the nation together. Led by the BBC SO’s Principal Guest Conductor, Dalia Stasevska, the 2020 Last Night of the Proms features soprano Golda Schultz, in what promises to be a unique and poignant occasion.

Golda Schultz Chris Christodoulou.jpgGolda Schultz © BBC/Chris Christodoulou.

Celebrating a wide range of musicians and music the line-up includes pianist Mitsuko Uchida with theLondon Symphony Orchestra andSir Simon Rattle, violinists Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment underJonathan Cohen, a recital from cello sensationSheku Kanneh-Mason and his pianist sisterIsata Kanneh-Mason, Aurora Orchestra led byNicholas Collon, performances from pianistStephen Hough, singersSophie Bevan, Allan Clayton andRobert Murray and sitar virtuosoAnoushka Shankar with electronic artistGold Panda and the Britten Sinfonia under Jules Buckley.

New Music is central to the Proms and a number of composers will be commissioned to write works that respond to the current world-wide situation caused by Covid-19. Composers includeThomas Adès writing a new piece for the LSO Prom and Andrea Tarrodi for the Last Night of the Proms. Alongside these works Richard Ayres explores Beethoven’s journey into deafness, as well as his own hearing loss, with a very personal new work performed by Aurora Orchestra.

The presenting team for the live TV performances includesKatie Derham, along withTom Service, Suzy Klein, Danielle de Niese and Josie d’Arby.

Whilst it’s unlikely there will be an audience at the Royal Albert Hall, the live performances will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and iPlayer.

The full schedule of artists and programmes will be announced nearer the time of the performances to allow for utmost flexibility in responding to the safety guidelines at the time.

A Digital Summer

Audiences are always at the heart of the Proms, but this year is truly the People’s Proms. By utilising the many BBC platforms, this summer will provide equally meaningful journeys for the most loyal of Proms audiences and for those discovering the delights on offer for the very first time.

Everyday throughout the season, Radio 3’s Breakfast will invite audiences to share their favourite Proms memories to be reflected on air each morning. In a time of isolation for so many of us, the BBC Proms aims to unite the nation with music. We’ll be ‘cracking open’ the Proms Time Capsule, remembering some of the best moments of the past 125 years and inviting everyone to join the conversation on social media - hearing from audiences about their favourite Proms memories. Audiences will be able to enjoy shared moments through watching and listening parties hosted by BBC Proms on social-media platforms.

Whilst Proms are normally available on BBC catch-up services for 30 days after broadcast, this year the season will remain online on both BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer for 30 days after the Last Night on the 12 September. BBC Sounds will also release themed and mood-led Proms mixes which will be updated throughout the season.

There will be a special collection of past Proms on BBC iPlayer for audiences to enjoy, as well as performances live from the Royal Albert Hall streamed directly to iPlayer.

Proms at Home for Families

After the success of this year’s highly popular BBC Ten Pieces at Home initiative, this season families will be able to experience Proms at Home. Families will be able to take part in special free activities built around selected Prom broadcasts, and are encouraged to upload their creative results to be featured on the Proms website. The activities have been created in partnership with organisations around the UK that work to change lives and bring music and the arts to children and young adults, including The Irene Taylor Trust, Heart n Soul, Handprint, Mousetrap and Literacy Pirates.

As part of a wider offering for young people, the deadline for the BBC Young Composer competition for 12- to 18-year olds has also been extended until 20 July and young composers can take part in our 30 Second Challenge until 31 August. Winners of the BBC Young Composer competition, which encourages students of all technical abilities, backgrounds and musical influences to get creative and submit an original composition, will participate in a tailored development programme, and will work with a mentor composer on a project with the BBC Concert Orchestra which will be performed and broadcast as part of the 2021 BBC Proms.

David Pickard, Director BBC Proms, said:
“The 2020 Proms will be a season unlike any other in its 125-year history. Music can be a powerful friend in difficult times and Sir Henry Wood’s mission - to bring the best of classical music to the widest possible audience, ‘making its beneficent effect universal’- is more important now than it has ever been. Over the eight-week season we are proud to celebrate the BBC’s 93-year guardianship of the festival as well as its continued support for live music. The riches to be found in the archive of the past four decades - including legendary concerts with some of the greatest names in classical music - bear witness to the international standing of the Proms, while two weeks of live performances in the Royal Albert Hall will celebrate the beating heart of music today.”

Alan Davey, BBC Radio 3 and Classical Music Controller, said:
“The 2020 Proms are a timeless mix of conductors, artists and great performances from across many eras as well as two weeks of memorable new performances. As an audience member, at these Proms, whether vintage or new, you know you will have the best seats in the house for experiencing them on air and online. Savour the atmosphere of the past and the newly forged - and I hope electric - atmosphere of the present, with the one constant being the magnificent Albert Hall and the great music that happens and has happened there. Throw yourself into this year’s Proms - without limits - and see where great music can take you.“

Jan Younghusband, Head of Music TV Commissioning, said:
“It has never been more important for us to deliver great classical performance for our audiences and also support musicians to work in these incredibly difficult times. Working within the confines of what we can do, we really hope the Proms on TV this year will deliver from the archive some of the iconic orchestral concerts of recent years. And the live concerts in August at the Royal Albert Hall will, we hope, be a positive start to being able to do more in the future.”

For full listings of the archival Proms being broadcast this season, please visit www.bbc.co.uk/proms

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):