Tickets for the world-famous Proms for a mere £6? That was the message at a glittering evening celebrating the launch of the 122nd Prom season.
Held at the BBC Radio Theatre, guests included BBC Proms presenter Katie Derham – looking impossibly glamorous in a pair of sky-high red heels – and the singer Jarvis Cocker, who is taking part in a special Prom celebrating the work of Sixties icon Scott Walker.
The Proms is the world’s largest classical music festival, held over eight weeks at the Royal Albert Hall and with more than 90 concerts. Its founder, the English conductor Henry Wood, had one aim – to bring the best in classical music to the widest possible audience – yet there are still claims that the Proms, and classical music in general, is too elitist.
Not so this year. For instance, this summer will see the first ever Relaxed Prom, a concert in an informal environment for people with autism, sensory impairments and learning disabilities. There are also Prom events for families as well as ones marked “Classical for Starters” aimed at those who find the whole world of classical music somewhat daunting (the Prom celebrating the film scores of John Williams on 20 July would be a good place to start).
For the first time in recent history, the Proms will also travel outside London to Stage@TheDock in Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – for a concert inspired by the 300th anniversary of the first performance of Handel’s Water Music. Prom concerts will also be performed at Tate Modern and in a multi-storey car park in Peckham, South London.
There are around 100,000 tickets available, starting at just £6 for Promming (standing), which are made available on the day of each concert. Others will be available from 9am on Saturday 13 May via bbc.co.uk/proms or 0845 401 5040, and in person at the Royal Albert Hall.
Can’t make it to London – or, indeed, Hull? Fear not – every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and, in a UK first, the entire festival will be streamed in the highest-quality audio the BBC has ever broadcast at bbc.co.uk/proms. Plus the luminous Katie Derham will be presenting regular television shows across the BBC.