It is once again that time of year in which the BBC and Royal Albert Hall open their doors to put on the UK’s most well-known orchestral classical music concerts.
The BBC Proms is a series of shows that runs for eight-weeks every summer on BBC 3 and BBC Sound, promoting a series of talented and established musicians from across the world, and promoting the best that Britain has to offer in the way of classical music.
This year, Insanity Radio was lucky enough to be welcomed into the Proms for their show on the 5th September. In this show, the BBC Proms welcomed Rufus Wainwright to the stage, backed by the impressive conductor Sarah Hicks and talented BBC Concert Orchestra, for a symphonic version of his album Want One.
Wainwright, who was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album, walked on stage with the flair and wardrobe of a modern Mad Hatter: sporting spotted red and white ladybug trousers, a flare white shirt and a grey waistcoat that was overtaken by a feathered broach gifted to the singer by Helena Bonham Carter. Wainwright was welcomed to the stage by a crescendo of orchestral sounds and a dazzling lighting display, and greeted the cheering crowd with a symphonic reimagining of his first hit from the album, Oh What a World.
The singer went on to deliver a spectacular performance, full of comedy and flair, embracing the solo piano, a successful attempt at the guitar (which Wainwright needn’t have doubted), and a beautifully resonating voice that enraptured the entire hall.
Wainwright has previously stated that he “like[s] to make the mundane fabulous whenever [he] can”, and he absolutely demonstrated that at the Proms this year. When he wasn’t stunning the crowd with his amazing voice, he was telling anecdotes from his conversations of his star-studded friendships with Elton John and Helena Bonham Carter, and joking around with the excited crowd. Despite some technical errors with the Proms lyric machine, which Wainwright jokingly struggled through, the entire show was an outstanding performance of the best of what symphonic music and the BBC Concert Orchestra can offer, and left the entire crowd buzzing with excitement.
The show ended with a long list of grateful thankyous from Wainwright to his creative team, the BBC Proms, Sarah Hicks and the BBC Concert Orchestra, finishing with a heartfelt thankyou to his family: his devoted husband Jörn Weisbrodt and adorable dog Siegfried. The BBC Proms delivered the exceptional night out their reputation promised, and I would highly recommend to any classical music lovers that they catch one of the final shows of the 2023 season.
Photo Credits: Miranda Penn Turin, 2023.