Battle Proms

Last time I talked about the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.  Apart from these concerts in London, there are many other fantastic ones held in various grand stately homes around England.  I went to one at Blenheim Palace a couple of years ago and had the most amazing time.

Battle Proms is an open air picnic concert, accompanied by nearly 200 live firing replica Napoleonic cannons and a Grace Spitfire air display, both choreographed to the concert.  The Spitfire is significant to the British history as it shot down the first enemy aircraft over Normandy beach during WW2.  Blenheim Palace  on the other hand is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, so is a very fitting place to hold a Battle Proms.

Originally I was a bit worried that the Battle Proms would be full of boring oldies.  How wrong I was!  As soon as we stepped out of our car and followed the crowd, young, old and children to the concert grounds we could feel the lively atmosphere around us.  A lot of people were well prepared and came not only with their picnic baskets,  but also picnic tables and chairs.  We set ourselves up pretty much right in front of the stage,  amongst the crowd to make sure we could soak up the fantastic atmosphere.

The Proms started off with a Road to Waterloo Infantry Re-enactment, followed by various classical pieces many with a battle theme performed in a true Battle Proms style accompanied by live cannons and the Grace Spitfire aerial display. The evening ended with a spectacular firework display and a traditional sing along amongst the ocean of flags flying under the warm summer night.

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上次我談到BBC在皇家阿爾伯特音樂廳舉辦的逍遙音樂會。其實除了在倫敦外,英國各地很多宏偉的古堡大宅也會舉辦類似的逍遙音樂會。幾年前我便在牛津布萊尼姆宮Blenheim Palace參加了Battle Proms。這是一個以戰爭為主題的逍遙音樂會。

Battle Proms是露天野餐音樂會,除了古典音樂表演,還有近200台複製拿破崙時代的實彈射擊大砲,與及Grace Spitfire戰鬥機的飛行表演。Grace Spitfire在英國戰爭歷史上有顯赫的地位,因為它在二次世界大戰時在法國諾曼第海灘上空擊落第一架敵機。布萊尼姆宮是戰時英國名相丘吉爾在1874年出生的地方,所以在這宏偉的大宅舉行Battle Proms最適合不過。

本來我是有點擔心去Battle Proms全是老人家而會很悶,但原來我的擔心真是多餘喔!當我從停車場跟著人群走時,看見一家大小興高采烈的步向演出場地,我立即感受到周圍熱鬧的氣氛。很多人都做足準備,不僅帶來裝滿美食的籃子,而且還有野餐用的桌椅。我在場地中心近台前找到有利位置,一方面欣賞台上表演,同時可以感受群眾的歡樂氣氛。

Battle Proms節目開始是一場滑鐵盧步兵重演,然後現場樂隊演出多首與戰爭有關的進行曲和古典樂章。那200台實彈大砲與Grace Spitfire飛行表演隨著音樂伴奏, 簡直把這個以戰爭為主題的逍遙音樂會推到高峰。到演出尾聲,在全場一片歡樂歌聲裏,我站在人群和旗海中,看著一場壯觀的煙花為這一晩劃出原美句號。

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