Red Velvet: The Victorian womb of the Royal Albert Hall
The first rule of presenting the Proms is.. No one wears red at the Proms. The second rule of Prom club is.. No one wears open toed shoes on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. (This is apparently a health and safety thing about cello spikes, rather than a Victorian taste issue about British men in sandals). The greatest joy of working on the Proms is to sit in on the rehearsal. Inside the Albert Hall it is always Saturday and the rehearsal is like a child's Saturday afternoon, anticipating the excitement of the night out ahead. But the intimacy of sitting in that giant almost empty auditorium, listening to a great conductor and his orchestra work through ideas out loud, only for you is almost more joyous than the night's public performance could possibly be. I listen to the trembling strings of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as Tadaaki Otaka conducts Vaughan Williams' A Fantasia on the a theme by Thomas Tallis. On Tuesday I sat and watched Juanjo Mena conduct Wagner's