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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Climate change comes to the Proms
Last Night at the Proms
The Proms is now in its 113th year
A musical drama about climate change, inspired by Hurricane Katrina, is to be performed at this year's BBC Proms.

The Water Diviner's Tale tells the story of a group of children lost after a storm sweeps away their homes.

It is the work of acclaimed film composer Rachel Portman, who won an Oscar for her 1997 film score for Emma.

The Proms season will run from 13 July to 8 September. Other highlights will be Proms celebrating the work of Elgar and music inspired by Shakespeare.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the partnership between the BBC and the Proms.

The Water Diviner's Tale, to be performed at London's Royal Albert Hall, will feature 40 children backed by a youth choir.

The Proms audience needs to be replenished and new generations need to come to it
Nicholas Kenyon
Proms controller
Proms organisers are planning are to conduct nationwide auditions to find performers aged 11-16 to fill the roles.

"Climate change is such a subject of the moment and the Proms does reflect what is going on in the world," Proms controller Nicholas Kenyon said.

"There will be no overt mention of New Orleans but it is clear that the inspiration was Hurricane Katrina."

The Water Diviner's Tale is one of several productions aimed at attracting younger audiences.

Indian inspiration

Others include an evening of orchestral performance presented by Asian fusion artist Nitin Sawhney, inspired by the 60th anniversary of Indian partition.

"We have always said that the Proms audience needs to be replenished and new generations need to come to it," Mr Kenyon said.

Shakespeare and Music is one of the season's main themes, with 20 Proms events featuring Shakespeare-inspired music by 25 composers.

They will include Verdi's Macbeth and Bernstein's West Side Story.

Michael Ball
Michael Ball will perform at the Royal Albert Hall
West End star Michael Ball has also been signed up to perform an evening of show tunes at the Royal Albert Hall on 27 August.

Ball, who has starred in The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects Of Love, Les Miserables and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, will perform hits from West End and Broadway musicals.

Mr Kenyon said: "I think he is one of the great, intelligent singing artists alive today.

"He deserves a place at the Proms just as much as performers in the great classical tradition. Our job is to cover the whole waterfront."

The Proms programme also includes a concert featuring scores from celebrated British films including The Dam Busters, Shakespeare In Love, Bridge Over The River Kwai and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

This year also sees the first Brass Day - featuring Grimethorpe Colliery band and traditional Uzbek trumpeters - billed as "one of the loudest and most memorable experiences of the season".

The BBC Symphony Orchestra's Jiri Belohlavek will conduct the Last Night of the Proms on 8 September.

The Proms in the Park series will include two new venues - Centre Square, Middlesbrough, and Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland - in addition to concerts in Swansea, Glasgow and London.

The BBC's online Listen Again facility will also store the audio from each Prom for seven days.

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