Rufus Wainwright, Damien Rice and Alison Moyet all performed at the debut of the Live at Chelsea concert series last year. Following its success, it returns again this year, with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra opening the first night’s Chelsea Firework Prom. Set in the central courtyard at the Grade I listed building of The Royal Hospital Chelsea, it makes for a superb and elegant setting. The Hospital itself was founded by King Charles II in 1682 and is home to 300 retired soldiers, known as the Chelsea Pensioners, many of whom attend the concerts in their full attire and who are always willing to have a chat and a share their stories.
The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra was founded by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1946. Every since then, it has built a reputation as being the nations favourite and most famous, iconic orchestra. In 2004, they acquired the Cadogan Arms in Chelsea as its first permanent base. The beauty of the Live at Chelsea concerts is that it feels like an intimate setting, where every seat has a superb view of the stage. Watching the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra live is truly something special. Their flawless performance and their energy is truly captivating to witness. Performing so many classic and well-known songs, there is something for everyone – from the casual classical fan, to the die-hard.
The guest soloists for the evening were Laura Wright and Jonathan Antoine. We have worked closely with Jonathan at EF over the years and we have seen him grow so much, both in confidence and in his vocal ability. Jonathan performed Bring Him Home from Les Miserables with tremendous power and poise and he was given a standing ovation after finishing the song. Jerusalem was again delivered with enormous power from him and the crowd loved it. Laura Wright also gave a splendid performance and it is little wonder that she is one of the countries top sopranos. And, as a little surprise to her, the audience were encouraged to sing back to her with a hearty Happy Birthday, as it was her special day that evening! Audience participation throughout the evening, as well as addressing the audience throughout made for a rather interactive evening where everyone felt included.
Finishing with the likes of Rule Britannia, and having people around us drinking Pimms, the evening couldn’t have got more patriotic or British, with the rain even managing to hold off until after the concert was over! The beautiful evening ended with an array of multi coloured fireworks that lit up the grounds, it really was a special evening and long may the Live at Chelsea series continue to be a success.
Venue: The Royal Hospital, Cheslea Performance Date: 17th June 2016