BBC Proms to include two weeks of live concerts at Royal Albert Hall


Inside the Royal Albert Hall during the Proms

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Organisers said this year’s Last Night of the Proms would be “poignant and unique”

This year’s BBC Proms will combine archive recordings and live concerts – with audiences at the Royal Albert Hall if coronavirus restrictions allow.

Organisers said the “ambition” is for musicians to perform at the London venue for the last two weeks of the two-month classical music festival.

It will culminate with a “poignant and unique” Last Night of the Proms on 12 September, they said.

A virtual “mash-up” of Beethoven’s nine symphonies will kick off the season.

More than 350 musicians will be heard performing together on 17 July after recording their parts at home.

Proms director David Pickard said the piece, arranged by Iain Farrington, would involve “the most ambitious lockdown orchestra ever”.

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Katherine Jenkins performed inside the empty venue for the VE Day 75th anniversary

The 2020 season will continue with TV, radio and online broadcasts of past Proms, some chosen by the public.

Pickard said he was “very hopeful” live concerts would follow at the end of August.

Performers, from soloists to ensembles, will be booked nearer the time when social distancing rules for the period become clear.

Earlier this month, Katherine Jenkins performed inside the empty Albert Hall for the VE Day 75th anniversary.

An audience during the live Proms events has not been ruled out, depending on government advice at the time.

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Media captionThe best bits of the 2019 Proms in four minutes

Pickard said the Last Night of the Proms would “look and sound very different” but would still evoke “the same elation” as always.

He promised “a stimulating and enriching musical summer for both loyal Proms audiences and people discovering the riches we have to offer for the first time”.

A host of major events, among them this year’s Glastonbury music festival, have been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Pickard said cancelling the Proms this year had been an option but to have done so would have been “a terrible opportunity missed”.

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