BBC Proms 2020 arranging 'multiple programmes' amid coronavirus uncertainty

'We're dealing with constantly changing regulations,' said conductor Sakari Oramo

Last Night of the Proms 'Auld Lang Syne'

Multiple programmes have been devised for each concert at the BBC Proms 2020 because of uncertainties surrounding coronavirus.

Organisers still don’t know how many performers will be allowed on stage at a time.

The 2020 season will consist predominantly of highlights from the BBC Proms archive, but hope remains that the classical concerts can return to London’s Royal Albert Hall for two weeks of live shows beginning 28 August.

Conductor Sakari Oramo told the BBC he is currently planning “four different options” for the opening night.

“We’re dealing with constantly changing regulations,” he said. “The advice on how many players we can have, whether we can have singers, whether there are restrictions to certain sections like the wind or brass, has all been – to put it mildly – slightly unclear.

“I completely understand it. I don’t find it strange that there’s a lot of uncertainty going on. But of course the number of players we can have, and the distances we need to have between players, will affect the programme greatly.”

In an official guide to the 2020 Proms, published by the BBC on Friday, it was stated that the line-up of artists and music for the two-week finale would not be announced until “nearer the time”.

The delay will facilitate “utmost flexibility in responding to the safety guidelines at the time”, it said.

“We have to be practical, which means we’re talking of orchestras Mozart and Beethoven size rather than Mahler and Shostakovich size,” said BBC Proms director David Pickard. “That’s just a fact.”

Whatever the case, it is highly unlikely that audiences will be allowed into the Albert Hall to spectate, with the event broadcast instead on radio and TV, and streamed on BBC iPlayer.

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