The 2019 BBC Proms season has been announced, with several Australian musicians featured in the eight-week extravaganza of concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall from July 19 to September 14.
Stuart Skelton. Photo © Guðmundur Ingólfsson
Heldentenor Stuart Skelton will perform Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, alongside German mezzo-soprano Claudia Mahnke, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner in Prom 18, the first half of which will see Leif Ove Andsnes perform Britten’s Piano Concerto. Skelton is no stranger to Das Lied, of course, with recent performances in Melbourne and New York, as well as a new recording with Sir Simon Rattle and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The work of Brett Dean will be featured in Prom 35, the composer contributing a variation to Pictured Within: Birthday Variations for M. C. B, a 60th birthday tribute to conductor Martyn Brabbins commissioned by the BBC. Dean will join 13 other composers wishing the conductor a happy birthday: Kalevi Aho, Sally Beamish, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Richard Blackford, Gavin Bryars, Dai Fujikura, Wim Henderickx, Colin Matthews, Anthony Payne, John Pickard, David Sawer, Iris ter Schiphorst and Judith Weir. The concert, which Brabbins conducts on his birthday, will also include Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Brahms’ Song of Destiny and Elgar’s Enigma Variations, with soloists soprano Nadine Benjamin and bass-baritone David Ireland joining the English National Opera Chorus, BBC Singers and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on the Royal Albert Hall stage.
Jessica Cottis. Photo © Timothy Jeffes/Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Jessica Cottis, who made her Proms debut in 2010 and returned in 2016 and 2017, will lead beatboxer Jason Singh, violinist Stephanie Childress, folk group Spell Songs, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the Southbank Sinfonia in Proms 49, inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s book The Lost Words, which revives disappearing words that describe the natural world, and will include live paintings from Jackie Morris, who created the artwork for the book.
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s outgoing Chief Conductor Sir Andrew Davis – a regular presence at the Proms – will conduct a program of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Hugh Wood in Prom 53, while the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Pekka Kuusisto will perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto on Prom 20, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.
Karina Canellakis. Photo © Mathias Bothor
Other highlights of this year’s Proms include US conductor Karina Canellakis conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass on the First Night, in a concert also featuring the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by Zosha Di Castri celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing; Notre Dame Cathedral’s resident organist Olivier Latry performing a wide-ranging recital in Prom 21; Daniel Barenboim conducting the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Martha Argerich as soloist in Prom 34; and star cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason – who won the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year and was seen around the world when he performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last year – performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla in Prom 46.
The Last Night will be conducted this year by Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo, with American mezzo Jamie Barton as soloist.
The BBC Proms 2019, Royal Albert Hall, London, July 19 – September 14