The BBC Proms 2012 are scheduling a series by Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which is absolutely and totally admirable, for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra stands for the ideals of peace and goodwill. They're doing a Beethoven symphony cycle, which is also highly relevant. If there is any decency in this world, they should be listened to properly.. However it's a moot point whether there is decency and fair play in this world. The protests against the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra backfired. No-one benefitted except those few who wanted to milk publicity for their own reasons. Not the subjects of the protest. So this year, security will be a nightmare. Will it overshadow the music? Or the understanding the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is about? It's almost impossible to block protest at a place like the Royal Albert Hall, and morally dubious to do so in a democracy. Let's hope sanity prevails this year.
This year's First Night oif the Proms will be an all-English affair whch will be good for the tourists and international audience. Elgar, Delius, Tippett and Turnage. After My Fair Lady, Debussy Pélleas et Mélisande with John Eliot Gardiner. Excellent cast - Laurent Nouri, Phillip Addis, Karen Vour'ch. Alice Coote sings French Song and Karita Matila sings Strauss. This will be hot, and on TV. Handel Judas Maccabeus on 19th July with the best cast British Handelians can muster (Ainsley, Mead, Purves, Rice, Joshua), Laurence Cummings conducting.
The Royal Opera House Berlioz Les Troyens comes to the Proms on 22nd July. Kaufmann, Brindley Sherrat and good support. Red Letter Day. A further chance to hear idiomatic Smetana and Dvořák on 25/7 with Jiří Bělohlávek who deserves serious resapect. He's one of the best in the world for this repertoire. Pierre Boulez is scheduled to conduct the West-Eastern Divan Orchetsra on 26/7 (Le marteau sans Maitre). It's a late night concert, and hopefully he'll be well again by then. The Barenboim West-Eastern Divan Orchestra Beethoiven cycle culminates in what should be an amazing Beethoven 9 - Rene Pape, Waltraud Meier, Peter Seiffert, Anna Samuil. Even though they don't get to sing until well into the symphony, Beethoven writes the theme into the music almost from the start "Alle Menschen werden Bruder". Let's hope people pay attention this year and pay respect. Some things are more important than publicity.
For more on the BBC Proms 2012 August and September, see HERE. . Always analytical here on this site, please keep coming back. Full details on the BBC Proms site HERE.
photo : Yuichi from Morioka