Wednesday evening Enda, Andrea, Feargal and I attended the late prom at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The prom was a very special evening as it featured music from the Pet Shop Boys performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Choir.
The performance was split into three parts… All of which had never been played before live (a Prom first).
Opening act was a live rendition of Overture to Performance which the Pet Shop Boys commissioned to open their Performance tour several years ago. It features a mix of PSB hits and was a real treat to hear live.
I used to play this so much and the performance brought back so many wonderful memories.
The middle act featured Chrissie Hynde of the Prenetnders singing four Pet Shop Boys sounds – a Four Songs in A Minor. Wonderful as it was to hear Chrissie live on stage, I am not sure the orchestral versions of Vocal, Love is a Catastrophe, Later Tonight or Rent (sang as a duet with Neil Tennant) did the songs or Chrissie Hynde and favours.
The main event was the unveiling of the opera Neil and Chris had written to celebrAte the life of Alan Turing.
Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, computer scientist, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine.
Juliet Stevenson narrated the story from a sound proof booth whilst accompanied by the full orchestra, choir and the Pet Shop Boys.
They did not pull and punches with the story and held nothing back. I’m sure the Daily Mail readers listening in on BBC Radio 3 were rather shocked by the content.
Neil and Chris had the royal pardon narrated by Ex Prime Minister Gordon Brown – a bold move especially as they wonderfully used the words to attack the government.
The opera cleverly details Turnings life and adds in elements of code, sounds of Colossus and the Enigma Machines he help crack during WWII.
I was so impressed by the opera. It seemed to drag a little at the start but it was very emotional and very dramatic in places.
Around section 6 when Turning committed suicide, the orchestra, choir and PSB were in full flow. The Royal Albert Hall was vibrating with the noise.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Man from the Future as did we all.
You cannot tell how hot we were though. Being a Victorian building it’s not great at circulation and internal cooling – everyone used their programmes as make shift fans to try and stay calm!
I’d love to share some snippets but this is all I have. I was told not to take any photos when I tried. If you want to listen to the Pet Shop Boys Prom it’s available on BBC iPlayer for another 25 days or so…
I know this was a late Prom but it was very late for a school night. The opera was due to finish at 11:30 but we didn’t leave our seats until midnight.
I am so privileged to have witnessed all of Chris and Neil’s non standard performances, Closer the Heaven, The Most Incredible Thing, Battleship Potemkin etc… Such a diverse body of work and always a very pleasant surprise.
What a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday evening 😃