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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 23:29 GMT 00:29 UK
Rousing finale for palace concert
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa opened the show
A rousing finale of the national anthem brought to a close the first of two historic gigs to be held at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.

Thousands of guests gathered in the grounds of the palace to listen to some of the finest classical musicians.

Pop and rock stars are gearing up for second concert on Monday which will feature artists spanning 50 years of the Queen's reign.

The Queen
The Queen smiled and waved at the crowd
Following the concert the Queen took the unexpected decision to lead many of the artists out in front of the palace to greet the fans who had come to be part of the historic event.

As well as those lucky enough to be inside the palace about 40,000 lined The Mall outside to watch on giant screens.

One fan said: "There's just thousands of people here and it just shows how much everyone loves the Queen and that everyone thinks she is doing a great job."


The gates opened to the 12,000 lucky ticket holders early to allow them to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the glorious sunshine.

One concert-goer said: "This day is so special, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

First to take the stage was Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who performed excerpts from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Gershwin's Summertime.

Golden Jubilee
Lucky ticket holders got into the spirit of the celebrations

The event saw a packed programme of music and performances including ballet stars Roberto Bollé and Zenaida Yanowsky dancing in the ballroom of the Palace, projected onto screens on the stage.

The husband-and-wife opera team of Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna first performed solo before teaming up to perform Brindisi from La Traviata.

Won over

They toasted the Queen with a glass of champagne, acting out the first line of the piece - "lets raise our glasses...", raising smiles from the royal box.

"It's a fairytale, being here with the Queen and princes. We're like children, so for us it's like a dream," said the French tenor Alagna.

Angela Gheorghui and Robert Alagna
Angela Gheorghui and Robert Alagna performed solo and together
A spectacular firework display accompanied the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Band of her Majesty's Royal Marines' rendition of Handel's Overture.

The crowd were left transfixed by the talent of 12-year-old clarinetist Julian Bliss.

Baritone Sir Thomas Allen, who performed two pieces, said afterwards: "I remember as a boy watching the coronation on a fuzzy black and white TV, and it is rather nice 50 years later to be part of the celebrations."

Sir Paul McCartney
Party at the Palace:
  • Sir Paul McCartney
  • Tom Jones
  • Will Young
  • Queen
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Sir Cliff Richard
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Ricky Martin
  • plus 18 more artists

    Full line-up

  • The concert was brought to a close with a stirring rendition of Pomp and Circumstance - better known as Land of Hope and Glory - which the crowd joined in with great gusto and flag waving before launching into the national anthem.

    The Queen could be seen singing along, while Prince Charles was clearly enjoying it as he waved his programme in time to the music.

    Monday will see the turn of pop stars and rock groups to entertain the Queen as the palace once again throws opens its gates.

    Among those taking to the stage are Ozzy Osbourne, Sir Paul McCartney, Will Young, Aretha Franklin and Atomic Kitten.

    The Party at the Palace concert will be broadcast live on BBC One.

    The BBC's June Kelly
    "It was the hottest ticket in London last night"

    Key stories



    Jubilee Celebrations

    50 years of pop

    Your views on Jubilee Prom at the Palace
    See also:

    01 Jun 02 | Entertainment
    02 Jun 02 | Entertainment
    21 May 02 | Entertainment
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