The very first Comedy Prom took place over the weekend (August 13th), signalling a change to the 117-year-old concert.
Musician and comedian Tim Minchin, who recently composed the score to the new musical of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, hosted the event and was joined by a number of guests.
Musical cabaret duo Kit and The Widow performed at the event, as well as the Mongrels, soprano Susan Bullock and British pianist Danny Driver.
Comedienne Sue Perkins, who won the BBC’s Maestro competition to win the chance to conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Proms in the Park last year, returned to the Proms stage for an evening of comedy and music.
The night was used to mark the centenary year of Franz Reizenstein and his Concerto Populaire, in which favourite piano concertos are raced through in quick succession.
Speaking ahead of the concert, Tim Minchin told Limelight Magazine that he hoped performing musical comedy in a sold-out Prom would make the BBC’s audience “more receptive to broader humour”.
“The energy in the Royal Albert Hall is going to be wonderful,” he gushed.
“It’s an incredible place to play; although it’s pretty cavernous, the circular design makes you feel like you’re walking onstage into a massive hug.”
A Comedy Proms is not the only ‘first’ taken by organisers this year. One of the 70 concerts performed during the season has been the first ever turntablist.
On August 6th, audiences were treated to Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra, composed by Sergei Prokofiev’s grandson Gabriel and performed by DJ Switch and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
In recent years, the Proms in the Park, nationwide park broadcasts of the Last Night of the Proms and family-oriented concerts have been created to bring the classical music concerts to a wider audience.
Highlights of the coming week include an all-Russian programme on violin performed by Lisa Batiashvili, including Stravinsky’s Petrushka, and works by Brahms performed by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
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