Last Night of the Sandringham Proms

Upwards of 3000 gathered on what is in effect the front lawn of Sandringham House for Sunday's Last Night of the Sandringham Proms concert by the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra conducted and introduced by Roderick Dunk.

By DAVID JOHNSON

Upwards of 3000 gathered on what is in effect the front lawn of Sandringham House for Sunday's Last Night of the Sandringham Proms concert by the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra conducted and introduced by Roderick Dunk.

The atmosphere was one of an enormous party, with many of the audience in evening dress. Visitors enjoyed picnics whilst sitting at candelabra-decked tables, determined to create a Glyndebourne-type atmosphere. One group near me actually cooked curry on a portable gas stove.

The evening opened with Wagner's Overture to Die Meistersinger, proceeding through popular classics and show music such as My Fair Lady.


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Soprano Juliet Scheimann brought a pure ringing tone to the selection of arias ranging from grand opera to Gilbert and Sullivan, giving the Tipsy Song from Strauss's Night in Vienna a great sense of fun.

Due to the large space, the performance had to be amplified but with a possible exception of one or two of the gentler pieces where the clarity was affected this did not detract from the quality of the playing or Roderick Dunk's leadership, which was of very high order.

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The real Prom atmosphere was in evidence with Henry Wood's Sea Songs, Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No 1. The whole audience joined in particularly on Land of Hope and Glory amidst much flag-waving.

The orchestra gave us two encores – a reprise of Land of Hope and Glory and the Dambusters March, during which the night sky exploded with a dazzling fireworks display.

How good it was to have the National Anthem played – a custom that has largely died out in orchestral concerts. A most enjoyable end to a summer weekend.

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