Entertainment & Arts

BBC Proms to begin with Mahler epic

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Media captionHow an orchestra is moved from rehearsal space to the Proms

Classical music celebration the BBC Proms will begin at the Royal Albert Hall later with a performance of Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand.

His epic Symphony No 8 in E flat major will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, in the 150th anniversary year of the composer's birth.

Highlights of the Proms season, now in its 115th year, include performances by Bryn Terfel and Placido Domingo.

Organisers have also announced the first Prom for deaf concertgoers.

The Sondheim At 80 concert, on 31 July, will feature a sign language expert interpreting lyrics from Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music and Sunday In The Park With George.

On 5 September, the Last Night of the Proms 1910 will be recreated, using the same programme selected by conductor and Proms' founder Henry Wood a century ago.

It includes music by Beethoven, Elgar and Wagner.

Doctor Who prom

On Saturday 24 July, there will be a Doctor Who prom - hosted by stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill - featuring music from the show.

Other performers at the 59-day festival include jazz singer Jamie Cullum.

Former ITV news reader Katie Derham, who will be fronting BBC Proms coverage for the first time on Radio 3 and BBC Two, said the festival had become a staple of the British summer.

Image caption Placido Domingo will perform Verdi's Simon Boccanegra on Sunday night

"There are certain events this season that will bring people in off the streets to the Royal Albert Hall who've never been in there before, let alone to listen to a classical concert," she added.

"They'll come in and maybe they'll like what they hear and maybe they'll come back next year."

Other ensembles performing during the festival include the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the World Orchestra for Peace.

This year's Last Night of the Proms will be on 11 September.

World-renowned Australian conductor Sir Charles Mackerras, who died in London this week at the age of 84, had been due to perform at the Proms on 25 and 29 July.

Russian conductor and pianist Vassily Sinaisky will take his role for the Viennese night on 25 July, presiding over pieces by Dvorak and Strauss.

An announcement about the concert on 29 July will be made shortly.

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