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EDITIONS
Friday, 19 July, 2002, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Spanish sounds open 2002 Proms
London Symphony Orchestra
It is often called the greatest music festival in the world
The Proms season begins on Friday, with guest soloists from Russia and the US joining the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Leonard Slatkin.

The programme for the opening night at London's Royal Albert Hall will reflect the strong Spanish theme of the 2002 Proms, which is presenting more than 60 Iberian works.

Prommers can also look forward to a return of the traditional patriotic flavour of the Last Night on 14 September, after last year's programme changes in the wake of the attacks on the US.

Willard White
Willard White: Master bass-baritone
Friday's concert showcases works by the 19th Century French Hispanophiles Chabrier and Lalo and Puerto Rica's Roberto Sierra, as well as a British classic - William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast.

Russian violin virtuoso Maxim Vengerov will tackle the intricacies of Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole.

And Willard White and the Choral Arts Society of Washington will join forces with the BBC Symphony Orchestra for Belshazzar's Feast.

The 73 Prom concerts offer much more besides Spanish and Spanish-influenced composers.

In a Proms first, the musical Oklahoma will be staged, as part of the centenary celebrations of composer Richard Rodgers.

In another first, Wynton Marsalis brings the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra to the Proms for the first time.

Also on the programme is a flamenco show from master guitarist Paco Peña.

Maxim Vengerov
Maxim Vengerov: Virtuoso violinist
The centenary of Sir William Walton will be marked and there will be new BBC commissions from Anthony Payne, David Sawer, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Joseph Phibbs.

The 108th season of the Proms takes place at the Royal Albert Hall in London from 19 July to 14 September.

The nightly concerts are all broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and this year more Proms than ever before will be televised on BBC One, Two and Four.

"Prom" or standing tickets are available for £4 for most concerts on the night.

Full details of the BBC Proms 2002 season are available online and in the BBC Proms Guide.

What do you think of this year's Proms line-up? Is there anything you think should be included in the programme? E-mail BBC News Online with your suggestions.

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