Monday 2 August 2010

A Grand Night Out

Saturday. To a packed Albert Hall for the Sondheim 80th Birthday spectacular. It was certainly the Prom to get to this year. We were lavishly hosted by Vaughan and Tony from a great box with supper in the Prince of Wales Room. The evening slid past on a wave of champagne.

But what music. The cast was, of course, starry but in the nicest possible way. Everyone was there to pay homage to the great man so silly performers' egos didn't get in the way. What we got instead were memorable performances of a range of SS's work, delivered with real panache and humour. Dame Judi got the 4995 non-straight members of the audience into all of a flutter. She was, naturally, fabulous, managing to balance the singing-speaking mix of Send on the Clowns perfectly.

Then there was the man himself. You have to admire someone who at age 80 sports a 23 year old boyfriend on his arm. He got a rare Albert Hall standing ovation and looked genuinely overwhelmed. Vaughan, who had to officially welcome him to the Hall, reported that this modesty continued behind the scenes. This was while, mind you, Dame Judi was declaring him to be a genius equal to Mozart. With a luvvy chorus like that maintaining a bashful air of surprise really is something.

Vaughan and Tony had arranged an interesting party including a former lover of Ivor Novello's which somehow made the evening even more poignant. We got back to Brighton around 2. Vaughan decalred it one of the most memorable Proms of his tenure at the Hall.

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