Friday, August 31, 2007

Proms 2007 - London

The Proms is a series of classical concerts which take place at The Royal Albert Hall or RAH as I will call it from now on, during the summer in London. I was first introduced to it while watching BBC 1 in 1992, the year we moved back to England. I remember being completely transfixed by the music and the formality of the event. Little did I know then that in a few years time, I would be living down the road from the RAH, and would also there for two of my own graduation ceremonies at this absolutely regal venue.
Coming back to the music, my parents owned several LPs of western classical music, one of which was Andre Previn's conduction of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony. As I child growing up in Kolkata, one of my passions after getting the homework done, was to plug in the headphones into my Dad's Sony Music system, and listen to music from far way - be it pop, rock or classical.

The Proms is always telecast live on TV from London. Covering a wide repertoire of music and showcasing well-known as well as new artists, this is really a treat for all classical music fans.
However, somehow, I never actually got to go see the Proms, even as a Chelsea resident. I suppose it was because school was out and I was away from London most summers, or because I thought that I could go the next year. As a London resident, I never made it to the RAH and the Proms. Not until July 2007. As a tourist.

It was totally spontaneous. Abhijit and I were lazing in Richmond, South London, and I had heard of these 5 pound tickets (standing room) for the Proms. We traveled to South Kensington, walked to the RAH, and got the tickets. It was a weekday so there were no lines. For five pounds, you may not have plush seats, but you have a choice of standing right at the front in front of the orchestra, or right at the top at the gallery. We chose the latter because we could see all of the hall in its splendor, and one could sit or even lie down and snooze to the strains of the music. It was wonderful. Check out the video clip coming later, capturing the last few bars of Sibelius' Tapiola. You can find details at this website.

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