Writing in the Telegraph, Ivan Hewett considers the longevity and popularity of the “Last Night of the Proms.” The exuberant Last Night performance, always memorable for the audience’s funny hats, noisemakers, and singalong choruses of “Rule Britannia” and “Land of Hope and Glory,” is a spectacle, and as is the case with most spectacles, some find it downright embarrassing.
Hewett observes that recent Prom Directors, in an effort to moderate the overt nationalism of the evening
…have adopted something like the American policy of ‘containment’ in the Cold War. They acknowledge a ‘sphere of influence’ for the fun and jingoist songs, but they try to box it in and if possible shrink it. They’ve made the serious first half longer, and have slipped serious things into the second half. But the audience gets its revenge. Their silly hats and klaxons create a kind of Last Night Miasma which takes over everything.
So why does the Last Night persist? What might the future hold? The article is here.
On Saturday, September 12, WCLV will broadcast the famous “Last Night of the Proms” live beginning at 2:00 pm.