Prom 53: Shostakovich’s Orango keeps the Red Flag flying over South Kensington

Bartók/Mozart/Shostakovich: Philharmonia/Salonen ***

Ivan Novoselov (Orango) © BBC | Chris Christodoulou

Ivan Novoselov (Orango)
© BBC | Chris Christodoulou

Royal Albert Hall, 24th August 2015

Fervent flag-waving is usually reserved for the Last Night of the Proms, so what was going on in this Philharmonia concert? The Arena was awash with a sea of red flags, the chorus – and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen – were decked out in T-shirts bearing portraits of Lenin or Stalin. Special Proms editions of Pravda were raised aloft, while the console of the giant organ was sheathed in idealist Soviet propaganda. In short, here was Dmitri Shostakovich thumbing his nose at the authorities in the brief Prologue to his incomplete opera Orango.

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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