PROMS 99: THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS

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TODAY

ELGAR'S `THE KINGDOM'

One of the great Elgar oratorios, played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis as part of a series which began last year with The Apostles and will conclude next year with The Dream of Gerontius. ENO favourite Anthony Michaels-Moore sings St Peter, with Catherine Wyn-Rogers singing Mary Magdalene and Swedish soprano Hillevi Martinpelto singing the Virgin. 7.30pm

Tickets: returns only in the stalls, or circle/choir seats (pounds 5-13)

MONDAY

SIBELIUS AND NIELSEN

The presiding genii of Nordic music share a platform in a concert by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor Osmo Vanska - who, being Finnish, takes a special interest in these things. His Sibelius recordings with the Lahti Symphony are collectors' items; and his Nielsen series in Glasgow last year was outstanding. Expect something special here as he conducts Sibelius's Pohjola's Daughter and Nielsen's Symphony no 6, Sinfonia Semplice. MacMillan's Cello Concerto completes the programme. 7.30pm

Tickets: availability as Sunday

TUESDAY

WORLD PREMIERE: PIERS HELLAWELL'S `INSIDE STORY'

An intimate 20-minute duet for violin and viola, plus eavesdropping orchestra, specially commissioned for the Proms from one of the most eclectically-inspired British composers. Martyn Brabbins conducts soloists Clio Gould and Philip Dukes. The evening also features Rachmaninov's last symphony - no 3 in A minor - and, 100 years after its premiere, Elgar's Enigma Variations. 7.30pm

Tickets: sold out

WEDNESDAY

DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES

See panel, right.

THURSDAY

BERG'S VIOLIN CONCERTO

Arguably the most beautiful, certainly the most lyrical of all the Second Viennese School classics, in what should be a stylish performance by Kyung-Wha Chung. 7pm

Tickets: available at all prices (pounds 5-25)

HARRISON'S CLOCKS

A late-night London premiere for a toughie: written by Harrison Birtwistle for that glutton for pianistic punishment, Joanna MacGregor. 10pm

Tickets: available, all at pounds 9

FRIDAY

CERHA'S CELLO CONCERTO

The UK premiere of a new piece by the Austrian composer who is famous for finishing Alban Berg's Lulu. It's played here by Heinrich Schiff, who gave the original performance, and is sandwiched between a double bill of Brahms: Tragic Overture and Symphony no 4 in E minor. 7pm

Tickets: available at all prices

SATURDAY

NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN

Feelgood night, in which the young players who annually wow the Proms with their collective virtuosity present the London premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Silent Cities, which was unveiled to British audiences a few weeks ago at Cheltenham. It is followed by Dvork's Violin Concerto in A minor and Bartk's Concerto for Orchestra. 8pm

Tickets: available at all prices

Ticket information correct at time of going to press. Five hundred standing tickets are on sale one hour before each performance.

All concerts at Royal Albert Hall, SW7 (0171 589 8212) MICHAEL WHITE

PROM OF THE WEEK

Dialogues of the Carmelites, Poulenc's opera of nuns on the run in the French Revolution, is having plenty of exposure during the composer's centenary year (he was born in 1899). And with good reason. It's a curiously powerful piece, as anyone who saw the recent ENO production will know: a heady mix of Catholic devotion and intense, stark drama which culminates in one of the most bizarre closing scenes ever written for the opera stage. One by one, the nuns go to the guillotine, whose falling blade (notated in the score) swipes through the music they sing with a relentless, sickening thud. The numbers of the voices gradually reduce to one last little nun ... and then, as she's in mid-phrase, down it comes. Shrrrrmp. End of ope- ra. Guaranteed, you'll either laugh or cry. If this production by the Strasbourg-based Opera National du Rhin, semi-staged by Marthe Keller, is half as good as ENO's show, there will be an ashen-faced and strangely silent queue waiting for the bus in Kensington Gore afterwards. Interesting family note: Jan Latham-Koenig, the conductor of the Opera National du Rhin, and Nicholas Kenyon, the director of the Proms, are brothers-in-law. Wednesday 7pm

Tickets: available at all prices (pounds 5-25)

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