Attendance Records Broken at BBC Proms

Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 08:39 PM

The BBC Proms, London's eight-week international music festival which ended its 117th season Saturday night, has reported record audiences for the second year running.

Average attendance for the main evening Proms in the Royal Albert Hall this year was 94 percent, compared with 92 percent in 2010. 52 of 74 concerts in the hall sold out, three more than the previous year.

Organizers report that of the more than 300,000 people who attended a prom this summer, more than 36,000 were first-time ticket buyers and more than 5,000 were under 16. In May when the tickets went on sale, the BBC said a record number were sold in the first 12 hours.

The record numbers came despite complaints in some quarters that the festival was watering down its programming and a protest that disrupted a performance by the Israel Philharmonic.

The season drew to a close on Saturday night with the Last Night Of The Proms, an annual feel-good event with patriotic sing-alongs ("Rule Britannia," "Land of Hope and Glory") and celebrity headliners. This year, the pianist Lang Lang was the night's star attraction. Watch him perform an excerpt from Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 below.

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