The Bri­tish are com­ing

Rule Bri­tan­nia at ‘Last Night of the Proms’

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E -

Break out the Union Jacks and noise­mak­ers. It’s time for the Brott Mu­sic Fes­ti­val’s “Last Night of the Proms.”

As the ti­tle sug­gests, Boris Brott and com­pany are mod­el­ling their con­cert on Satur­day, July 29, at 7:30 p.m. af­ter the BBC’s tra­di­tional “Last Night of the Proms” sea­son fi­nale in Lon­don’s Royal Al­bert Hall. Those can be rather ex­u­ber­ant af­fairs with flut­ter­ing flags and loads of lev­ity as Prom­mers decked out in din­ner jack­ets or true-blue red, white and blue make merry with sonorous singing and con­vivial clap­ping.

And Brott wants much the same at­mos­phere so that lo­cal long­hairs can let down their hair.

“We want this to be as much like the tra­di­tional ‘Last Night’ as pos­si­ble,” wrote Brott in an email to The Spec­ta­tor. “Clap­ping, ap­pro­pri­ate noise­mak­ing — all en­cour­aged. The Na­tional Academy Orches­tra will be decked out in Bri­tish colours. We are sourc­ing Union Jacks for pur­chase. If the au­di­ence has them, please bring them, of course. Since we are mul­ti­cul­tural in Canada, and it’s our 150th, all flags are en­cour­aged.”

And would you like to guess where Brott’s “Last Night” will be held?

Mo­hawk Col­lege’s McIn­tyre Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre? Nope. Guess again. The Burlington Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre? Strike two. Need a hint? It’s Hamil­ton’s pre­mière venue for or­ches­tral con­certs with seat­ing for up­wards of 2,000 souls.

Hamil­ton Place, er, FirstOn­tario Con­cert Hall? Bingo. Yup. Brott and com­pany are re­turn­ing to that au­gust venue af­ter a hia­tus of some­thing like seven years. The BMF’s choice of FO Con­cert Hall for this and two fur­ther con­certs, one in Au­gust the other in Septem­ber, means one thing: go big, or go home. Or as the Brits might put it, the full monty.

Now, we know what you’re think­ing, er, be­sides the full monty. It’s that even though FO Con­cert Hall is the bee’s knees, it doesn’t have an arena or a gallery like the Royal Al­bert Hall. And that means one thing: Brott’s Prom­mers have no hope of hop­ping-on-the-spot to the mu­sic like the Prom­mers do in Lon­don Town.

“The au­di­ence will have seats,” wrote Brott. “No place at Hamil­ton Place to repli­cate Al­bert Hall with a stand­ing room ring.” “Fid­dle sticks,” you say? Chill. Apart from the no hop­ping part, ev­ery­thing should be tick­ety­boo since the BMF’s bill repli­cates the feel of the tra­di­tional “Last Night” bill with feel-good fare fol­lowed by pa­tri­otic pieces or jin­go­is­tic jin­gles, if you pre­fer.

So, Brott and the NAO are sched­uled to open with one of Bri­tish com­poser Ben­jamin Brit­ten’s best known works, “A Young Per­son’s Guide to the Orches­tra.” It was writ­ten in 1945 for the 1946 ed­u­ca­tional film, “In­stru­ments of the Orches­tra,” per­formed by the Lon­don Sym­phony Orches­tra un­der Sir Mal­colm (Flash Harry) Sar­gent, who, with car­na­tion firmly planted in but­ton­hole, con­ducted the BBC’s “Last Night” con­certs from 1947 un­til 1966.

There­after, it’s bits ’n bobs from Gil­bert and Sul­li­van, col­lo­qui­ally re­ferred to in the biz as G&S. On tap are the “Over­ture to The Pi­rates of Pen­zance” fol­lowed by “The Ma­jorGen­eral’s Song” sung by tenor David Curry, and “Poor Wan­der­ing One” with so­prano Lau­ren Mar­gi­son. Plus, there’ll be se­lec­tions from “The Mikado” in­clud­ing the “Over­ture” and “A Wand’ring Min­strel I” among others. Af­ter in­ter­mis­sion, it’s time for the “Last Night’s” eter­nal peren­ni­als to bloom yet again with Sir Ed­ward El­gar’s “Pomp and Cir­cum­stance March No. 1 — Land of Hope and Glory,” Sir Henry Wood’s “Fan­ta­sia on Bri­tish SeaSongs,” Thomas Arne’s “Rule, Bri­tan­nia!” and Sir Hu­bert Parry’s “Jerusalem.” Round­ing out the bill will be Alexan­der Brott’s ar­range­ments of “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen.”

Tick­ets: $44, se­nior $38, Brott35 $25, stu­dent $15. Call 905-525-7664.

The BMF’s World’s Best Cham­ber Mu­sic se­ries runs on Wednes­day, July 26 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. as NAO ap­pren­tices per­form works by El­gar, Gounod, Grieg, and others in The Church of St. John the Evan­ge­list, 320 Charl­ton Ave. W. Ad­mis­sion: $12.

Leonard Turnevi­cius writes about clas­si­cal mu­sic for The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor. leonard­turnevi­cius@gmail.com

Lau­ren Marig­son re­turns to the Brott Mu­sic Fes­ti­val to sing se­lec­tions by Gil­bert and Sul­li­van in the "Last Night of the Proms."

LEONARD TURNEVI­CIUS

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