It’s all systems go in preparation for one the highlights of Durban’s music calendar, the annual ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concert. Presented by the British Cultural and Heritage Association, this popular event will take place at The Playhouse on Saturday 3 October, starting at 7pm.
Richard Cock will be back at the helm of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and with the Durban Symphonic Choir set to lead the audience in raising the rafters of the Playhouse Opera Theatre, this year’s concert - the 25th in the much-loved series - promises to be one to remember for many a day.
Featured on this year’s soloist roster are two of KZNPO’s distinguished principal players, Russian-born cellist, Boris Kerimov, and the Romanian French-horn player, Sorin Osorhean. Sharing the spotlight with them will be the rising young baritone Thuso Gumede. Also featured will be the KZN Pipes and Drums, and Celtic dancers Melissa and Samantha Wood from the Bronwyn Parker Dance Studio.
Enthusiasts can look forward to a bumper programme of concert warhorses. These include, among others, ‘O Fortuna’ from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, ‘Va pensiero’ (the hugely popular ‘Chorus of Hebrew Slaves’) from Verdi’s Nabucco, Glazunov’s Reverie, Finlandia by Sibelius and the Leroy Anderson ever-green, ‘Blue Tango’.
Other items to be enjoyed include the seductive serenade ‘Deh vieni alla finestra’ from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the anthem ‘I was glad’ by Sir Hubert Parry, Lord of the Dance, Tango in D by Albeniz, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, as well as proms fixtures such as Parry’s Jerusalem, Thomas Arne’s Rule Britannia and Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No 1.
As locally-based seasoned ‘prommers’ will know, the Durban event is modelled on the wildly exuberant last night culmination of Britain’s world-renowned BBC Promenade Concert series, which were founded in 1895 (although the term ‘Promenade concerts’, predated this as they had existed in London's pleasure gardens since the mid-18th century).
The Proms as they are known today have long been entrenched in British culture, attracting thousands of followers from all corners of the globe, who enjoy the eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually in venues across Britain, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London.
When the total number of BBC Proms concerts reached 100 for the first time in 2009, the Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek described the Proms season as "the world's largest and most democratic musical festival.”
Tickets for Durban’s 2015 Last Night of the Proms range from R140 to R210. Early booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment. Tickets are available through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers, telephonically on 0861 915 8000 or online at www.computicket.com. Alternatively, call the Playhouse Box Office on 031-369 9540 (office hours).
-Interviews available on request-
ISSUED BY WILLIAM CHARLTON-PERKINS