Sweaty business: Royal Albert Hall seeks solution to sweltering temperatures at Proms
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Monday 29 July 2013
The Royal Albert Hall is seeking a long-term solution to address the sweltering heat in the auditorium during the summer months, which has left Proms audiences “dripping with sweat” and creates significant challenges for the musicians.
Audiences revealed their discomfort during performances last week when temperatures reached as high as 33.5C outside, with one saying on Twitter that the venue was “as hot as Hades”.
Tiffany Hore, a medical librarian who also plays in an orchestra, attended the five-hour performance of Wagner’s Die Walkure on Tuesday.
She said: “I’ve been to the Proms a lot over the years and this was probably the hottest I can remember. It was hot when I got in there and just got worse. By act three I was pretty much dripping with sweat.”
Yet, the musicians turned in a performance hailed by critics and members of the audience. “They were absolutely superb and tireless as well,” Ms Hore said.
Gary Furr, a BBC Philharmonic trumpeter told the BBC, that the heat could affect the pitch of the instruments. Ahead of last week’s Proms performance he added it would be a “sweaty one” adding: “We’re acutely aware we’re getting red-faced and dripping with sweat live on camera.”
A spokesman for the Royal Albert Hall said the organisation was “acutely aware” of the problem of rising heat within the auditorium during the sweltering weather.
Despite the best efforts of the team to keep the building cool, the spokesman pointed out the problems.
“Due to the scale of our building and the radiant heat generated by 6,000 people within the venue and outside temperatures exceeding 28 decrees it can be a challenge to manage,” he said.
The management is seeking a “long-term solution” to address the issue including replacing the Victorian heating systems in the next three years to regulate the issue and improve cooling in the corridors and auditorium ventilation.”
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