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Highlights & Guide to the 2010 BBC Summer Proms

BY Boon Koh
Published 29 April 2010

Another summer, another series of BBC Proms to attend! While there is no end to exciting events, festivals, parks to explore, and al fresco dining to do in London during the few short summer months, one of the big highlights every year is the BBC Summer Proms, taking place this year from July to September.

Held in the grand Royal Albert Hall (RAH), you might be tempted to ask yourself why one should spend time indoors during the summer when you could be out having BBQs in the park or enjoying the great outdoors. Indeed, the Royal Albert Hall isn’t very well ventilated either, with the throngs of concertgoers every year facing sweltering conditions inside and finding a second use for their concert programme booklets and guides. However, the BBC Proms is the biggest highlight in the music calendar in London, and even if you are not into the more classical and traditional forms of music it would be a shame to not attend at least one of the world quality concerts and take part in the annual promming ritual!

Top highlights this year
Every year, there is a star-studded cast of celebrity musicians from around the world who perform at the BBC Proms, with these performances being some of the hottest tickets of the year in London. Placido Domingo, a world renowned Spanish tenor, was expected to perform in London just a few months ago at the Royal Opera House, but pulled out at the last minute to undergo surgery for colon cancer. He has made a roaring recovery, and is set to be one of the big highlights of the BBC Proms. He will be headlining Verdi’s opera “Simon Boccanegra”.

Jamie Cullum will be performing his songs on the piano at the BBC Proms as well, and Stephen Fry will make an appearance when he introduces a complete performance of “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg” by Wagner.

Matt Smith, the lead actor in the Docor Who series, will be making an appearance as part of a special Doctor Who Prom night.

Two Last Night of the Proms Performances!
The opening prom will be on the 16th July, with the first night being given over to Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand”. The last night will be on the 11th September, with the traditional Last Night of the Proms held outdoors in nearby Hyde Park, just a stone’s throw away from Royal Albert Hall. However, this year for the first time since 1910 there will be two Last Nights, with the traditional one being held on the real last night (11th September), and the other one a re-creation of the Last Night of the Proms in 1910. The traditional one will include the staples such as Rule Britannia, Jerusalem, and Land of Hope and Glory, with star performers Renee Fleming, an American Soprano, and Jonathan Dove, a British composer.

The other Last Night of the Proms, a recreation of the 1910 version, will be a free concert to the public, and will have Wagner’s Flying Dutchman overture, and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No 4. But you did hear it right; it will be a free entry concert, which doesn’t come around very often.

The Fine Details, Ticket Prices and Booking Information
One great thing about the Proms however is that most of the tickets are priced very affordably, and for almost all the shows tickets are as cheap as £10. Whilst there are no special student discounts, a selection of seated and standing tickets are reserved for sale at the Royal Albert Hall Box Office on the day of each Proms performance, and if you have the time to queue up for the tickets, they are available for the bargain price of £5, making the BBC Proms some of the most affordable music concerts in London. These cheap £5 standing Prom tickets are one of the key philosophies of the BBC Proms, ensuring that the Proms are affordable and accessible to the general public.

One of the best value tickets we see for this year’s BBC Proms is the Proms Weekend Pass for the first opening weekend. Apart from the opening night of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, there is also a performance by Bryn Terfel with the Welsh National Opera performing Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, and Placido Domingo’s performance with the Royal Opera House. And all for only £12.50, the price of a Proms weekend pass!

In order to purchase tickets for the Last Night of the Proms, there is a requirement that you have to go “promming” at 5 other Proms events, thus making the Last Night ever so special and exclusive. Held outdoors in Hyde Park, it is one of the biggest group singings you will ever see in your life as the crowd sings along to nationalistic songs like Rule Britannia!

Proms tickets are open for booking on Tuesday, 4th May, and it is pretty much guaranteed that some of the hottest tickets will be sold out within minutes. Tickets will go on sale at 8am on 4th May through the Royal Albert Hall website. Full listings of all the proms, performers, and dates are available on the official BBC Proms website. You can also purchase the BBC Proms 2010 guide in paperback, showing the full Proms listings and artists bios, from Amazon for only £3.99.

Some Proms are proving to be very popular and have sold out, which means its near impossible to get tickets. Fret not, prom-goers who have bought tickets but are now unable to make it have been selling their tickets on Viagogo, frequently at a discount to the face value. Viagogo’s listing of BBC Proms tickets is here.

Proms you must see this year

  • Placido Domingo in Prom #3 (Sunday 18th July)
  • Last Night of the Proms – Prom #76 (Saturday 11th September)
  • Jamie Cullum in Prom #55 (Thursday 26th August)
  • Matt Smith presenting Proms #10 and #11 (24th and 25th July)
  • Last Night of the Proms 1910 – Prom #67 (Sunday 5th September)

  • Mrs M Drage

    Is it possible to find a complete listing of ALL 2010 BBC Prom
    concerts and can you advise the website for details.
    Many thanks, M Drage (Mrs).

  • http://www.london-insider.co.uk The London Insider


    Thanks for your comment, there is an official BBC Proms website with listings of all the Proms this year here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2010/

    Unfortunately, its not all on one page or in a summary table, but it does show you the proms week by week. It does have search functions to search by artist/group I believe.

    Otherwise from my own perspective, the best guide I have found is actually the paper copy of the Proms guide… nothing beats being able to flip through it rather than having to click here and there to search for the view you want.

  • jack casserly

    Are there CD discs available of any of the Proms 2010? Specifically: Stephen Sondheim’s Birthday celebration.