It’s a given that the line-up for any year’s BBC Proms will be packed with many of the world’s leading soloists and ensembles. The programme for the 2010 festival, which runs from July 16 to September 11, doesn’t disappoint, with just some of the highlights including Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting Monteverdi’s Vespers, Maria Joao Pires performing a late night Chopin recital, Bryn Terfel in Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (titled in English, though sung in German), Plácido Domingo in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, and Paul Lewis performing the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos.
Violinist Nicola Benedetti makes her Proms debut, Sir Simon Rattle brings his Berlin Philharmonic, Valery Gergiev conducts the World Orchestra for Peace, and there are 31 new commissions or premieres across the nearly two months of events. There’s a day devoted to Bach, his music and transcriptions of it, the Mahler anniversary is marked by performances of his monumental 8th Symphony, to open the festival, as well as Symphonies No 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7, and Schumann’s anniversary sees performances of all his symphonies.
A repeat of the successful Doctor Who Prom will feature television’s latest Time Lord, Matt Smith, there are celebrations of the music of Stephen Sondheim and of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and also appearances by the Penguin Café band and jazz performer Jamie Cullum. Other events include a Henry Wood day, celebrating the founding-conductor of the festival with a free-of-charge recreation of the Last Night from 1910. The second, actual Last Night’s guest artists this year will be soprano Renée Fleming and the fast-rising violist (and former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year) Maxim Rysanov.
As usual, all Proms are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, with a number being shown on television and broadcast internationally. For more information, visit the Proms website – and don’t miss the July edition of Gramophone which will be devoted to the 2010 Proms, published on June 2.