BBC Proms 2014

Series 1 - 1. First Night of the Proms

First Night of the Proms
Radio Times
Review by:
Patrick Mulkern

When Andrew Davis raises his baton, he’s not just unleashing a grand work rarely performed at the Albert Hall, but inaugurating a summer of impressively eclectic music (Richard Strauss to Cole Porter, Pet Shop Boys to War Horse) across 76 concerts scrunched into 58 days.

Outgoing Proms director Roger Wright stresses, “This season we celebrate global classical music by welcoming more international ensembles to perform than ever before” – expect visitors from South Korea, Qatar, even Lapland... Yet to begin, we’re in familiar hands with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and the BBC National Chorus of Wales. (The seasoned professionalism of the many BBC ensembles can often go unsung.)

This First Night has a British flavour and, defying any talk of dumbing down, is devoted to one heavyweight opus. Elgar’s 1906 oratorio The Kingdom depicts the acts of the Christ’s disciples after the Ascension. Watch out for distinguished mezzo Catherine Wyn-Rogers returning as Mary Magdalene, a part she last sang for Andrew Davis at the Proms in 1999.

About this programme

1/25. The 120th season of the classical music festival gets under way at London's Royal Albert Hall as Katie Derham introduces a performance of Elgar's biblical oratorio The Kingdom, a portrayal of the acts of the disciples after the ascension of Christ. Andrew Davis conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the BBC National Chorus of Wales, with soloists Erin Wall (soprano: Blessed Virgin), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo: Mary Magdalene), Andrew Staples (tenor: St John) and Christopher Purves (baritone: St Peter).

Cast and crew


Katie Derham
Andrew Davis
BBC Symphony Orchestra
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC National Chorus of Wales
Erin Wall
Catherine Wyn-Rogers
Andrew Staples
Christopher Purves


Rhodri Huw
Helen Mansfield