We invited first time Proms attenders to come in and review concerts. Here Colm McAuliffe reviews Prom 72:
Opera provides a valuable lesson for the uninitiated. Any event, no matter how big or small, can be made into an occasion of the utmost gravitas, style and splendour by simply bellowing out sentences in a booming baritone or soaring soprano. The addition of the BBC Symphony Orchestra to provide subtle nuances and grandiose flourishes when necessary would also help but nevertheless, such vocal volume has never seemed so alluring, so attractive and so utterly definitive.
In spite of the heady subject matter, Nixon In China provided some lovely touches which created a pleasing dichotomy between the grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall and the limitations of the political references. At various points, a toy plane emerged, handed from performer to performer, signalling the gradual descent of the presidential plane. And, aside from the remarkable singing, the physicality of the performers, seeming to represent, variously, power, uncertainty, diplomacy and gravity provided the occasion with a dramatic immensity unmatched by celluloid or theatrical adaptations of a similar theme; if anything, the latter seem makeshift in comparison.
As a Proms virgin, Nixon In China provided an ideal platform to rise forth from the murky world of the unconvinced to embrace one’s inner operatic aficionado and ultimately consummate what one can only expect to be a rapturous love affair with the operatic world.