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BBC Proms

There were two specific things my mom wanted to do while in London. She wanted to try a restaurant in Chinatown. And she wanted to go to a classical music concert.

It's been almost ten years since I had last attended the BBC Proms concerts. The Royal Albert Hall had been under renovation. I had been busy.

I like the philosophy of the Proms. "Prom" stands for "promenade" - or to walk and be seen. There are always seats available at these summer concerts, which run from mid July to mid September. The cheapest tickets go for £4.00 each at the door. You can queue for the Arena, the centre of the circle, where I last sat and stood. Or you can queue for the Gallery, the highest level.On the day of the concert, the box office can sell almost 500 tickets each (Arena and Gallery = 1,000 tickets). Other seats are more expensive and often sold out. But ticket touters are your saving grace if you prefer to go there last minute. Season ticketholders can buy gallery seats for these seventy-some concerts for £135 total, amounting to less than £2.00 a ticket.

Since I've never been at the Gallery level, I decided to give it a try, not least that my ex-colleague had told me about her "Bay 17" regular season ticketholders.

The box office opened at 6:30 pm. The queue for the Gallery level moved quickly. Soon we found ourselves at the very top level, just beneath the circular roof.

It was my first time to see the Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin. After a brilliant performance of Brahm's second piano concerto, the audience applauded until he had to give not one, but two encores.

Although the floor was less comfortable than seats, I enjoyed the freedom of being able to lie on the ground and close my eyes. Of course, I couldn't do that with Kissin. He deserved a standing ovation!

6 August 2002 Tuesday

BBC Proms
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