Renée Fleming, Nina Stemme & Bryn Terfel Headline BBC Proms 2017

By Katharine Baran

The BBC Proms has announced its summer schedule and as always there will be a lot of offerings for opera lovers. Here is a look at what audiences can look forward to.


The BBC Proms opens with John Adam’s choral masterwork “Harmonium” on Friday, July 14, 2017, at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This concert will include the BBC Proms Youth Choir and award-winning pianist Igor Levit, who will be the soloist in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. The First Night also opens with a world premiere of “St. John’s Dance” composed by Tom Coult.

On Monday, July 17, 2017, audiences will get a chance to experience a program that includes vocal music by Claudio Monteverdi. The program is dedicated to celebrating the composer’s 450th anniversary and will feature  I Fagiolini.

Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio,” will also get a showcase on July 21 at 7:30 p.m. Stuart Skelton will lead the production as Florestan with Ricarda Merbeth, Brindley Sherratt, and Louise Alder, among others.

Juanjo Mena will conduct the production. Rounding out the July performances will be Monteverdi’s “Vespers of 1610,” directed by Raphaël Pichon.


Meanwhile, other productions consist of two big performances on August 2, 2017. Esa-Pekka Salonen leads mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa in Ravel’s “Schéhérezade.” The program also includes Bach variations and John Adams’ “Naive and Sentimental Music.”

Also on that day, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir will perform two of Bach’s Lutheran Cantatas.

On Aug 6, 2017, Mussorgsky’s “Khovanshchina” will take the stage, with Semyon Bychkov conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Paul Curran staging the concert. The cast includes Elena Maximova as Marfa and George Gagnidze as Shaklovity.

That will be followed up by an August 8 performance of Berlioz’s “The Damnation of Faust” with American tenor Michael Spyres in the role of Faust. Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg will play Marguerite and Ashley Riches will perform as Brander in the production. Sir John Eliot Gardiner will the Trinity Boys Choir, Monteverdi Choir, National Youth Choir of Scotland, and Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique in the performance.

On Friday, August 11, John Wilson will conduct a semi-staged performance of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma,” bringing a bit of Broadway to the festival.

Other August highlights include a performance of Mahler’s second symphony with soprano Elizabeth Watts and mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Kulman, a recital featuring soprano Christiane Karg and a presentation of Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” starring mezzo-soprano Alice Coote.

Arguably the event of the summer will be a performance by superstar Renée Fleming on August 30. The leading soprano will take on music by Richard Strauss and Samuel Barber.


Soprano Chen Reiss will debut at Proms in Mahler’s 4th Symphony on September 2. She will be accompanied by Daniele Gatti and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

There will also be a concert entitled “Proms in the Park” with bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel.

The final performance of the summer showcase will feature a list of star singers, including Nina Stemme and Lucy Crowe, Christine Rice, Ben Johnson and John Relyea. Stemme will sing from Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and Sakari Oramo will lead the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the end of year festivities.