By: Shelagh Connolly
April 19, 2018
The BBC PROMS Season for 2018 includes two major appearances by the London Symphony Chorus.
The first of these at 7.00 pm on Sunday, 22nd July, is Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, the so-called Symphony of a Thousand. This was a title that Mahler never gave to this major choral work, but on this occasion the choir stalls of the Royal Albert Hall will certainly be at capacity, as we will be joining forces with the BBC Symphony Chorus, the BBC National Chorus of Wales and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The children’s choruses will be provided by Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs with a remarkable line-up of soloists: Tamara Wilson, Camilla Nylund, Joelle Harvey (sopranos), Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano), Claudia Huckle (contralto), Simon O’Neill (tenor), Quinn Kelsey (baritone) and Morris Robinson (bass). Everyone will be under the baton of Thomas Sondergard, Principal Conductor of the BBC National Chorus of Wales.
Always a special event in any season, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 has had over 70 recordings since 1950. The mammoth scale of this dramatic piece will match the impressive space of the Royal Albert Hall, in what Mahler considered, “It is the best thing I have ever done.”
The LSC returns to the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, 18th August (performance at 7.30 pm) with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Principal Conductor Simon Rattle in Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les Sortileges”, which concert performance will be sung in French with surtitles. The cast includes Magdalena Kozena (L’Enfant), Patricia Bardon (Mother/Shepherd/Dragonfly), Jane Archibald (Fire/Nightingale/Princess), Anna Stephany (Chair/White Cat/Chinese Cup/Squirrel), Elizabeth Watts (Shepherdess/Bat/Owl), Sunnyboy Dladla (Teapot/Little Old Man/Tree-Frog), Gavan Ring (Grandfather Clock/Black Cat), David Shipley (Tree/Armchair).
In “L’Enfant et les Sortileges”, it has been considered that Ravel may have portrayed himself in the lead role of the stubborn child who has no desire to do his homework and just sticks out his tongue at his mother. Ravel was very at ease in the company of children and enjoyed playing with them. In this short opera he is to be found at home. Ravel’s fairy-tale ballet “Mother Goose” and sensuous song-cycle “Sheherazade” complete the programme.