PMB's popular 'proms'

2009-01-29 00:00

ANYONE who thinks that the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Last Night of the Proms concert in Pietermaritzburg is nothing more than a celebration of British colonialism is quite simply wrong.

That’s the view of ’Maritzburg music promoter Chris Hodgkins, who has organised the event at the city hall on February 27.

“The ‘Britishness’ of the Proms mustn’t be misconstrued as British colonialism,” he said, adding that the Proms should rather be viewed as a fun evening which will hopefully introduce more people to the delights of classical music.

“We want to encourage the audience to bring along their flags — whatever their heritage — and to wear outrageous attire to help create the ambience of the event. The programme includes Italian, French, Russian and British composers, so express your feeling of patriotism and celebrate your country’s emblem.”

The Last Night of Proms is the culmination — and for many the highlight — of the annual BBC Proms festival. Maritzburg’s version hopes to emulate its popularity and will be offering “Prommers” a programme which includes Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Quando M’en Vo from Puccini’s La Bohème, La Donna è Mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot. The opera pieces will be performed by soprano Lauren de Sappa and tenor Stefan Louw, accompanied by the KZNPO under the baton of Russian maestro, Naum Rosine.

Concluding the first half is a mass choral performance of the fourth movement of Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No 3, (popularly known as the Organ Symphony), which will make use of the city hall’s grand pipe organ. Choirs taking part include the Durban Symphonic Choir, the Maritzburg Singers and the choirs of Maritzburg College, Epworth and Pietermaritzburg Girls High — a total of 160 singers.

The second half incorporates two key aspects of the Last Night of the Proms format from the Royal Albert Hall in London — a popular country section, which will include songs such as Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Call to

Ireland and Flower of Scotland, and the introduction of a new piece — Stravinsky’s Berceuse and Finale from the Firebird Suite.

Other traditional favourites on the programme include Arne’s Rule,

Britannia!, Vaughn-Williams’s British Sea Songs, Parry’s Jerusalem and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory).

The concert starts at 7.30 pm. Secure parking is available at and around the city hall. Cash bars are available prior to the concert and at interval.

Bookings have exceeded expectations and to avoid disappointment it is advisable to phone Pearl at 033 342 4512 as soon as possible.

— Arts Editor.

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