Composer Tavener to mix with Pet Shop Boys at BBC Proms festival

Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:59pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - Premieres of two pieces by Britain's late mystical religious composer John Tavener and a staging of the classic musical "Kiss Me Kate" were among the highlights announced on Thursday for the BBC Proms, one of the world's biggest classical music events.

The Proms will pay tribute in its 120th season to the centenary of Britain's entry into World War One with a special "War Horse Prom" on August 4, the date Britain declared war on Germany in 1914. The event will feature puppets performing to a suite of music based on the score for the original National Theatre production of the play.

One of the Tavener pieces, "Requiem Fragments", sung by the Tallis Scholars, will have its premiere that same day.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, who together form the Pet Shop Boys electronic pop duo, will premiere their new piece "A Man from the Future", based on the life of the mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing.

British soul singer Laura Mvula will reprise her highly successful Late Night Prom aimed at younger audiences. American pop singer Rufus Wainwright also will stage a late-night Prom.

Other features of the eight-week-long event include performances of three operas of Richard Strauss in his 150th birthday year and 80th birthday tributes to two British composers, Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell-Davies.

"The Proms is a big international festival that just happens to take place in the UK," Roger Wright, the event's director, said at a launch event.

Among the conductors appearing will be Simon Rattle, Ivan Fischer, Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly and Valery Gergiev. Orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and a range of British ensembles will perform.   Continued...

Neil Tennant (L) and Chris Lowe of the British band Pet Shop Boys perform during the German game show "Wetten Dass" (Bet it...?) in Erfurt February 27, 2010. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele