I have been a big fan of classical music, ballet and opera for as long as I can remember, however I saw this concert when I was 10 and the reason why it is so special to me is because not only did it introduce me to some fine artists and some of the music(the Villa-Lobos piece for example) but also I saw Prom at the Palace at a similar time when I was taking classical music seriously.
This is a wonderful concert, the only drawback I agree being Michael Parkinson, who does sound ill-at-ease. The concert is shot beautifully, there is great sound, the orchestra are superb and Andrew Davis conducts with aplomb. The performance of Jupiter from the Planets is very rousing, and even more so the Pomp and Circumstance finale where you actually see Davis singing along. The choreography in the Swan Lake ballet excerpts is intricate and beautifully danced too.
The soloists are wonderful. Kiri TeKanawa is delightful as always, and Roberto Alagna does a very nice rendition of E Lucevan e Le Stelle, and shows good chemistry with his wife Angela Gheorghiu during the Brindisi.
Three performances especially stood out. One was Angela Gheorghiu's moving Vissi D'Arte, which is intelligently phrased and sung and communicative. Two was the hypnotising and beautiful Brachianas Brasillieras by Villa-Lobos, headed by Mistav Rostropovich, which was beautifully played and had such atmosphere to it. The third, and my personal favourite, is Thomas Allen's Largo al Factotum in a very original and entertaining performance with effortless style too.
All in all, a wonderful concert and one that will always have a special place in my heart. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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