Albert Hall seeks cool fix as promenaders wilt

Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:34am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's heatwave has prompted the Royal Albert Hall to review its ventilation systems after soaring temperatures at the Summer season of Promenade concerts left both musicians and spectators "dripping with sweat".

Classical music fans who this week attended a performance of Wagner's Das Rheingold were wilting after the three-hour long performance in an auditorium which Twitter user Penny Murphy described as "hot as Hades".

Performers were also left red-faced in their formal tail-coats and ties, when temperatures in London reached a high of 33.5C (92.3F) on Monday.

Britain has been basking in its longest heatwave for seven years and the mercury is expected to stay high next week.

BBC trumpeter Gary Farr who played at the Proms on Thursday night, said: "The tail-coats are not ideal. We're acutely aware we're getting red-faced and dripping with sweat live on camera!"

But some musicians embraced the sense of occasion the formal wear brought to the event.

Pianist Joseph Middleton said he preferred to wear concert dress for the Proms, despite the discomfort.

"I like the feeling of putting on something smart that you wouldn't wear at other times," he told BBC Radio.

The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and, with seated and standing areas, has a maximum capacity of around 5,200 people. It has been holding the annual Promenade concerts since 1941.   Continued...