The programme of this year's BBC Proms festival has been announced and there is plenty to savour. On Friday July 18, the festival swings into action with Elgar's The Kingdom with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and soloists Erin Wall, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Andrew Staples and Christopher Purves.
There is more Elgar the following day – his Pomp and Circumstance March No 4 – when the China Philharmonic arrive in London with their conductor Long Yu. They will also be performing Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto (with soloist Haochen Zhang), Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Thaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture and Qigang Chen's new Trumpet Concerto (featuring Alison Balsom).
The big anniversary composer this year, of course, is Richard Strauss who was born 150 years ago. To celebrate this, three of his operas will be performed complete: Der Rosenkavalier on July 22 will star Kate Royal as The Marschallin, Tara Erraught as Octavian and Teodora Gheorghiu as Sophie with the LPO and Robin Ticciati conducting; Salome on August 30 with a cast including Burkhard Ulrich and Nina Stemme with the Deutsche Oper lead by Donald Runnicles; and Elektra on August 31 featuring Christine Goerke, Johan Reuter and Gun Brit Barkmin with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Semyon Bychkov.
Composers specially commissioned for this years' Proms include Simon Holt whose Morpheus Wakes (a flute concerto) will be premiered by Emmanuel Pahud, BBC NOW and Thierry Fischer on July 27, Jonathan Dove whose Gaia will be performed by the BBC SO and Josep Pons, and Benedict Mason's Meld will be played by the Aurora Orchestra with Nicholas Collon.
The Berlin Philharmonic will be giving two concerts, the first featuring Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances and Stravinsky's Firebird (September 5), the second Bach's St Matthew Passion staged by Peter Sellars and starring Mark Padmore, Magdalena Kožená, Eric Owens and Christian Gerhaher (September 6), both concerts will be conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
The annual performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony will be taken on by the Gewandhaus Orchestra and their conductor Riccardo Chailly on September 12.
Full concert details are available from the BBC Proms website.