Proms at the Palace – Classic Concert - Party at the Palace – Pop Concert
It has been
a great weekend here in London, full
of emotion, particularly in regards
to the Pop Concert. It was a perfect
excuse to get out of the house and
enjoy the entire extravaganza around
me. Most of the shops in London
had festive decorations and even some
of London’s normally red buses were
painted gold. A ‘Jubilee’ bride chose
to have her wedding cress made in
the form of a Union Jack, it was an
extremely joyful and patriotic weekend,
with the Union Jack almost everywhere.
I remember the Sex Pistols sailing
down the Thames on Jubilee Day in
1977 and they re-released their CD
The Jubilee, for this year’s
celebration. There were comic programmes
on TV with funny impressions of the
Royal family; all commonwealth countries
issued special stamps, and many parades,
even excerpts from the famous Notting
Hill Carnival and also some Hell’s
Angels on their bikes.
What I found most wonderful to see
was the Queen travelling in the famous
gold coach – probably not as comfortable
inside in comparison to its beauty.
But above all the most incredible
was the way BBC synchronised the singing
of All We Need is Love from
all the various towns and villages
of the UK. I don’t think any other
TV organisation in the world could
have done such great job, nor can
any other country do pageantry as
well. The enormous amount of
trucks, and cables around Buckingham
Palace was unbelievable. I saw
a TV camera follow the Queen in and
out of many places for hours.
All this was put together to celebrate
The Queen; she is a great icon; her
image and reality are virtually inseparable.
Her figure is symbolic; we really
don’t know much of her private life
behind her public mask. I love
her husband’s, Prince Philip, gaffes,
because I love gaffes too and to see
him doing it gives me an excuse to
forgive myself. He has a huge sense
of humour and jokes out his gaffes
with the word ‘dontopedalogy’ - the
art of opening your mouth and putting
your foot in it.
For me the celebration
was about the concerts. It opened
with a classic concert at Buckingham
Palace: “Prom at the Palace” – “Party
at the Palace”. The Queen looked relaxed
and she seemed to enjoy the music.
For the first time Camilla was there,
which means that the Queen publicly
acknowledges her relationship with
her son by inviting her to sit in
the Royal Box. The concert was free.
The “special invited audience” was
allowed to picnic in the Palace gardens.
They were each given a coolbag hamper
of a three-course meal and a small
bottle of champagne. The guests
were mostly matrons of Middle England,
some in formal dinner jackets and
cocktail dresses some in jeans and
T-shirts. The majority of guests
had a Union Jack depicted somewhere
on their clothing. For those in attendance,
it must have been almost as thrilling
to be there as winning the lottery,
was millions applied for tickets in
the ballot but only 12,000 received
The concert started
with Anniversary Fanfare by
William Walton (1902-1983) played
by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal
Marines, showing the association between
music and monarchy. Then came
the soprano Kiri Te Kanawa that said
she was very happy to be representing
the Commonwealth, as she is from New
Zealand. She said, “You
think you are used to playing at a
concert but it wasn’t the same at
all. You look at the royal box and
suddenly realise what a great event
it is.” She also sang Handel’s
Let the Bright Seraphim at
Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981.
Here at the Prom at the Palace, she
sang a beautiful rendition of Summertime
by George Gershwin (1898-1937) from
Porgy and Bess. She also
sang Mozart’s (1756-1791) Dove
sono from The Marriage of Figaro.
The audience loved the clarinettist,
Julian Bliss, (13 years old) who gave
a fantastic performance of Andre Messager’s
(1853-1929) Solo de Concours.
Ashley Wass accompanied her on the
piano. Being a Brazilian, I
shed tears for Bachianas Brasileiras
No1 – Preludio (Modinha) HeitorVilla-Lobos
(1887-1959). It was played by
the great man Mstislav Rostropovich,
(who turned 75 this year, a birthday
celebrated both at the Palace and
with an emotional Gala at the Barbican
Center) on the cello and accompanied
by the Cellos of the London Symphony
Orchestra. Also taking part in the
Jubilee was the famous operatic couple,
Robert Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu
(in stage dress to die for!).
They chose Vissi d’arte from
Puccini’s (1858-1924) Tosca
–for Gheorghiu E lucevan le stelle.
They then sang together Verdi’s (1813-1910)
Brindisi (Drinking Song) from La
traviata, accompanied by the conductor
Sir Andrew Davis. All three
of them toasted the Queen in the Royal
Box with their glasses of champagne.
Davis always makes me laugh with his
funny way and you can see he enjoys
conducing. The baritone, Sir
Thomas Allen, sang Gioachino Rossini’s
(1792-1868) The Barber of Seville,
a great favourite of mine. He also
sang The Yeoman of England, from
Edward German’s (1862-1936) Merrie
England. What I found
marvellous was the transparent stage
in the garden of the Palace strategically
placed so that the green of trees
and the small lake could be seen.
What a delicious place to listen to
music! Handel’s (1685-1759)’s
music consisted of the Coronation
Anthem from Zadok, the Priest followed
with Music for the Royals Firewords,
all accompanied by the BBC Symphony
Orchestra and Chorus. It was
completed with a real firework finale,
which were so impressive we all rose
to our feet in appreciation. The concert
closed with the Elgar’s Land of
Hope and Glory (when you know
the history of this country you come
to understand how perfectly this piece
illustrates proud people of this nation)
sung by the entire company of artists.
It was altogether a most memorable
occasion. What an evening!!!!!
But the very best,
at least for me, was the Pop concert
seen on TV by 20 million people around
the world plus the one million (including
myself) actually at Buckingham Palace.
It was wonderful as the Palace changed
colours throughout the evening.
And, as you can image, the atmosphere
was fantastic; it was a touching experience.
I enjoyed myself; I feel that life
has given me so much that I can not
complained about a thing. For
I am blessed, as the only thing I
enjoy most is music and my favourite
City is London. I was
experiencing all this, which was followed
by an unforgettable display of fireworks
and the incredible feat of the Queen
lighting the Beacon.
I consider Monday 3
June 2002, a day in my life that will
never be forgotten. When Brian May,
on the roof of the Palace, was playing
on his guitar God Save The Queen,
I was so moved that I have decided
to apply for British citizenship.
I have been away from Brazil for more
then 30 years and feel my allegiance
is to the ‘Queen’ (the Pop Group)
and to this country. Gawd bless
’er Majesty. “That’s real Cockney”
says my cultural friend Georgina.
So to be honest, I feel just as connected
to British culture as I do to Brazilian.
I love British Pop and Rock.
I remember when I was a teenager going
to the Rio de Janeiro radios on the
Saturday afternoon for Rock and Roll
and a kind of kareoke, imitating an
American rock group of the 60’s, singing
like A Star in Your Eyes. It
was love at first sight for me.
I also love Elvis and all the Motown
hits. But to be at the palace and
to be listening to Ozzy Osbourne end
his singing of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid
saying, “God save The Queen. I love
you all.” far surpassed my teenage
memories of the Rio de Janeiro radio.
(Let us not forget the irony of this
all, for Ozzy once bit off the head
of a bat and while wearing a dress
he urinated on the Alamo! It’s so
funny to me to see him at the Palace
and to see the Princess Royal really
get into his music. HAAA!!!)
Phil Collins played and, as always,
he was FANTASTIC!!!!!!!
Camilla Parker Bowles joined in the
song You Can’t Hurry Love;
presumably, the lyrics have been a
great comfort to her over the years.
Atomic Kitten sang Dancing in the
Street. Annie Lennox was fabulous,
portraying the real battle between
the old and new orders of British
Pop. Joe Cocker gave a masterful performance
of With a Little Help From My Friends.
Tony Bennett was just ok. Brian Wilson
sang his Beach Boys songs God Only
Knows and Good Vibrations
(the Pop highlight of the night).
His performance was a bit stiff and
awkward, but to see him on stage was
great; he also sang a moving duet
with Eric Clapton. Elton John was
actually in Scandinavia on his tour
but BBC filmed him in Queen Victoria’s
Music Room at Buckingham Palace; a
lot of people thought he was actually
there. The two remaining ‘Queen’ musicians
made a rare appearance singing a melody
from We Will Rock You (a musical
based on the group). The musical,
which is currently playing in London’s
West End at the Dominion Theatre,
is produced by Robert de Niro. I know
a great deal about ‘Queen’ because
my friend Rodrigo Coimbra Antunes
is a ‘Queen’ fanatic; he sends me
a lot of their material. In
fact, Rodrigo is such a huge ‘Queen’
fan he has created a website based
on them (http://www.raconline.hpg.com.br/) As I was
listening to them I thought of HIM
(Freddy Mercury) who is no longer
with us. Still without the presence
of Freddy Murphy to sing, the songs
had the power to annihilate distance
in large spaces. The ‘Queen’
music is very much alive. This was
an orgasmic concert for me; I mean
better than sex or anything else.
To see all my idols after all the
crazy things they have done; I am
shocked that they have managed to
keep themselves very much alive; (what’s
even more shocking is that they have
all managed to keep their own hair!!)
But it was their music (not their
hair) that brought me enjoyment, along
with a heaping amount of memories.
It’s been such a long time that I’ve
sung and danced for a whole concert,
but I was “rocking” with the rest
of them. Maybe I ought to be
embarrassed but I am not. Darlings,
at my age all I want is to have a
little fun….just as the song goes
“girl’s just want to have fun”.
Oh gosh, the tribute
that Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton
performed together, Here Comes
the Sun, drove me wild!
Paul was looking younger and his playing
was incredible –it’s been quite sometime
since I have seen him looking so good.
I sat on the Queen’s back porch and
listened to him play Blackbird.
He finished by singing All we need
is love, the Royals and other
participants of the concert joined
him on stage. Prince Charles then
read a tribute to his mother, which
was then followed by everyone singing
Hey Jude. While we joined
together in song, the Queen lit the
fireworks and beacon. This “celebrating
with fire” fascinated me. But in UK
they celebrated with beacon in St.
James’s Palace, an original beacon
site, dating back to 1588. A
National Beacon, the one, which was
lit by the Queen, was sponsored by
British Gas and is located at the
Victoria Memorial. I was very
curious because as I had never seen
a beacon before. Beacons were lit
from Mount Kenya, Antarctica, Nepal,
New Zealand, and Canada; there were
more then 1,800 beacons throughout
the UK, the Channel Island and the
Commonwealth making this the largest
chain of beacons ever for a royal
occasion. Beacons have been used for
centuries as a system of communications.
During Queen Victoria’s reign, they
were used as a mean of celebration.
In 1588 one was used to warn the Spanish
Armada; they were along the cost on
church towers and high hill and were
used to signal alarms. In recent years
has been used to commemorate the Millennium,
the 50th anniversary of
VE Day in 1995, The Queen’s Silver
Jubilee in 1977 and for this evening,
The Golden Jubilee 2002.
The best view for the
firework spectacular at Buckingham
Palace was probably the London Eye
that was floodlit in gold. It was
a glorious day, but I paid a very
high price for it. I sleep on
the pavement for seven hours to get
in, queued for one hour to use the
loo, another hour to buy a not so
tasty sandwich, and I had to walk
for over an hour to get home because
there was no public transportation
running. BUT it was all worth
it!!! What a party it has been!!!!!!!!
From a rock-n-roll girl,
who has spent the day rocking with
the best of them.