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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Prom 1: First Night of the Proms

Royal Albert Hall / London / Music

Just as there will always be an England, there will always be a Royal Albert Hall and the Proms to set it ringing for a summer’s worth of music in excelsis. The honor of opening the 46-concert festival this year falls to the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s 38-year-old principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska, who is Finnish though born in Ukraine. She’s the first of no fewer than eight maestras on the roster, of whom two are Black. With her program, Stasevska honors the hall’s history, opening with the Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music, which premiered here, led by the Proms’ founder Henry Wood. She also showcases the hall’s mammoth 9,999-pipe organ, which is heard in Poulenc’s high-voltage concerto for that instrument. And finally, she follows the house tradition of introducing a new work, in this case When Soft Voices Die, by Sir James MacMillan. —M.G.

Royal Albert Hall Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College Rd, Kensington, London SW7 2AP, UK
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