The Promenade Concerts , known as The Proms, were started in 1895, when up until then concerts were only for the rich Brit aristocrats. The impresario Robert Newman had the idea of playing popular classical music and taking the seats out of the auditorium and by squeezing many more people could make tickets affordable.
The conductor for he first 50 years was Sir Henry Wood and it was who created the shape of the Proms which have remained almost intact to this very day. In 1927 the BBC started to fund the Proms which they first broadcast on the radio, and then later on television.
There is a Prom every night for two months during the summer., but the most popular and (in) famous one is “Last Night of the Proms”. The audiences react and behave like a much toned down version of a rowdy soccer crowd, dressing up in silly clothes and waving flags galore, and hollering at the top of their voices ,,,,,, but they are British so it never ever gets out of hand
This is a night for adulterated nationalism, and the program never ever changes, The orchestra plays Fantasia on British Sea Songs which gets faster and faster as the crowd claps along. They always play Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March no 1 which has the tune Land of Hope and Glory.and then finish up with Parry’s rousing hymn Jerusalem
The highlight of the night is always a famous singer belting out Rule Britannia which sends the crown totally wild, and I must confess that we at home watching the live broadcast feel at least one a tear in the corner of our eyes as our chests swell with pride.
Last night the star was American mezzo-soprano Jaime Barton a ‘self-professed “queer girl with a nose ring” . She won the audience her wistful rendering of Somewhere Over The Rainbow but when it came to her performance of Rule Britannia she swapped our the Union Jack and replaced it the rainbow one . This historic and emotional gesture made the crowd almost blew the roof of the Royal Albert Hall , and we had another fabulous gay diva that we will never ever forget.