On 15 July 2016, BBC Proms celebrated its 75th season at the Royal Albert Hall with a unforgettable opening concert featuring the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Chorus of Wales and BBC Symphony Chorus, conducted by Sakari Oramo, with soloists Sol Gabetta (cello) and Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano).

Watch and listen to this world-class evening of music:

Before the concert, the BBC Proms’ regular orchestra BBC Symphony Orchestra gave a stirring performance of La Marseillaise, as a mark of respect to the victims of the recent Nice tragedy.

Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet overture launched the First Night of this BBC Proms season, and the 4,337th Proms concert in the world famous venue.

This year, the Proms will mark 400 years since Shakespeare’s death with music inspired by the Bard’s work – from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream overture to Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder, and including a concert of music for Shakespeare’s plays performed at the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse at The Globe.

Next, cellist Sol Gabetta made her Proms debut with Elgar’s lyrical Cello Concerto.

This performance marks the beginning of a season-long spotlight on the instrument, including ten concertos as well as a Proms Chamber Music concert featuring an ensemble of 12 cellos in Cadogan Hall!

Argentinian Sol’s solo also was the first performance in the season’s celebration of Latin America. In the same year that the Olympics are staged in Brazil, the BBC Proms will welcome an array of South American orchestras, soloists and music, including the São Paulo Symphony and Jazz Symphony Orchestras, pianist Martha Argerich and music by Villa-Lobos and Marlos Nobre.

The evening concluded with Prokofiev’s cantata from Alexander Nevsky, the patriotic film made by the famous Russian director Sergei Eisenstein – a piece called the greatest movie score ever written.

All photos © Chris Christodoulou