The 2023 season of the BBC Proms will conclude with the festive Last Night of the Proms, set to take place on Saturday, 9th September at the Royal Albert Hall. This year’s grand finale will be led by conductor Marin Alsop, who will host the concert alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus, and two esteemed soloists: soprano Lise Davidsen and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
The freshly unveiled programme boasts a fittingly celebratory array of opera arias, spirituals, choral anthems, all the beloved traditional Last Night pieces, and two world premieres:
The piece “1922” by young British composer James B. Wilson takes a special place in the lineup. This composition, commissioned to commemorate the BBC’s centenary last year, mirrors the technological progress, energy, and innovation witnessed over the past century of broadcasting. Originally slated for premiere in 2022, it was regrettably cancelled due to the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.
Also featured is Laura Karpman’s “Higher. Further. Faster. Together.”, which serves as the main theme for the upcoming American superhero film, The Marvels.
Katie Derham will be the presenter for The Last Night of the Proms on TV, joined by special guests Sandi Toksvig and Danielle de Niese. The televised broadcast will be split into two parts: Part 1 on BBC Two at 7pm, and Part 2 on BBC One at 9pm. BBC Radio 3 will also be broadcasting live from 7pm, hosted by Petroc Trelawny and Georgia Mann, with special guest Grayson Perry.
Two pieces of music will be performed to mark one year since the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and the Coronation of King Charles III. The BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus will perform William Walton’s Coronation Te Deum, originally composed for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Additionally, the BBC Singers will present Roxanna Panufnik’s Coronation Sanctus, commissioned by King Charles III for his Coronation at Westminster Abbey on 6th May 2023.
David Pickard, Director of BBC Proms, expressed his pride in the range and diversity of this summer’s programme, which included notable events like the complete performance of Berlioz’s The Trojans — the first in the UK in over a decade. He noted a significant increase in audience attendance, averaging 90% across the season, up from 85% in 2019. He thanked the audience for their support.
Sam Jackson, Controller of BBC Radio 3, shared his delight in the success of the Proms season, which featured 85 concerts with over 3,000 musicians. He highlighted that every note was broadcast live on Radio 3 and emphasized the accessibility of the Proms content through platforms like BBC Sounds and iPlayer.
The BBC Proms content garnered an impressive 3.2 million viewers on TV during the opening weekend, with the First Night of the Proms achieving its highest overnight TV audience since 2009. Digital performance was also strong, with 3.7 million requests for Proms content on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer up until 3rd September, nearly double the figures from the same period in 2022, including a record-breaking first weekend.
Last Night of the Proms Programme
R. Strauss: Don Juan
Bruch: Kol Nidrei
Roxanna Panufnik: Coronation Sanctus
James B. Wilson: 1922 (BBC commission: world premiere)
Walton: Coronation Te Deum
Wagner: Tannhauser – ‘Dich, teure Halle’ with Lise Davidsen
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana – Easter Hymn with Lise Davidsen
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana – Intermezzo
Verdi: Macbeth – ‘Vieni t’affretta’ with Lise Davidsen
Laura Karpman: Higher. Further. Faster. Together. Main Theme from The Marvels
Coleridge-Taylor: Deep River with Sheku Kanneh-Mason
Kálmán: The Gypsy Princess – ‘Heia, heia, in den Bergen ist mein Heimatland’ with Lise Davidsen
Villalobos: Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 – Aria (Cantilena) with Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Lise Davidsen
Trad. arr. Henry Wood: Fantasia on British Sea Songs
Arne arr. Sargent: Rule, Britannia! Verses 1, 3, 6 with Lise Davidsen
Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1
Parry arr. Elgar: Jerusalem
The National Anthem arr. Britten
Trad. Arr. Paul Campbell: Auld Lang Syne
Lise Davidsen: soprano
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: cello
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop: conductor