A Last Night First

by Elena See, Minnesota Public Radio,
Luke Taylor, Minnesota Public Radio
September 8, 2013
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — You might think Marin Alsop would be accustomed to firsts. After all, in 2007, the violinist and conductor became the first female music director of a major American orchestra when she assumed the role with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

"These 'firsts' are always surprising to me," Alsop recently told BBC Radio Scotland's Jamie McDougall, "that we can be in 2013 and still have 'firsts' for women."

That said, Alsop broke new ground once more when, on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, she became the first woman to conduct at the Last Night of the Proms.

The night marked a few personal firsts for Alsop as well; it was the first time she got to work with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and with violinist Nigel Kennedy. And although Alsop has performed at the Proms many times, until this week, she'd only ever enjoyed the Last Night of the Proms on television.

Last Night of the Proms, a signature classical-music event and the culmination of the 58-day BBC Proms music festival, is known for its joyously rambunctious and enthusiastic audience. It's typical for the audience to wave flags, to volley beach-balls and of course, to sing along with the vocal pieces. "It's just like hosting a huge party," Alsop told McDougall. "As long as people are enjoying the music and having fun, I'm happy."

Listen to Last Night of the Proms on Classical Minnesota Public Radio on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 3 p.m. Twitter users are encouraged to use the hashtag #LNOP.

Last Night of the Proms program

Anna Clyne
Masquerade
BBC Commission, World Premiere

Wagner
The Mastersingers of Nuremberg — overture

Bernstein
Chichester Psalms

Vaughan Williams
The Lark Ascending

Britten
The Building of the House

Massenet
Chérubin - 'Je suis gris! je suis ivre!'

Handel
Xerxes - 'Frondi tenere e belle ... Ombra mai fù'

Rossini
La donna del lago - 'Tanti affetti in tal momento!'

INTERVAL

Bernstein
Candide - overture
Candide - 'Make our Garden Grow'

Verdi
Nabucco - 'Va, pensiero' (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves)

Arlen
Over the Rainbow

Monti
Csárdás

Traditional
Londonderry Air (Danny Boy)

Rodgers
Carousel - 'You'll never walk alone'

Bantock
Sea Reivers

Lloyd
HMS Trinidad March
UK Premiere

Arne
Rule, Britannia!

Elgar
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major ('Land of Hope and Glory')

Parry
orch. Elgar, Jerusalem

Traditional
The National Anthem (arr. Britten)

Joyce DiDonato mezzo-soprano
Iestyn Davies counter-tenor
Nigel Kennedy violin
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conductor

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Elena See
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