❚ ANOTHER GLORIOUS Last Night of the Proms, conducted for the first time by a woman, Marin Alsop, who said she was amazed to be the first in its history because it is after all 2013 and we’ve had 118 years in which to dare! Stars included violinist Nigel Kennedy who indulged himself in some wild and hilarious improv all the way through Vittorio Monti’s accelerating gypsy piece, Csárdás (you’ll know it when you hear it, most recently in Lady Gaga’s song Alejandro).
But the singing sensation of the evening was the American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato who lifted Over the Rainbow way out of the Garland league into a coloratura heaven of her own, wow! Then she led 6,000 voices in the Albert Hall, plus thousands more in public parks across the UK, in Rule Britannia. As is tradition, she swished the wings of her expansive bat-cape to reveal it to be a dreamy puce abstraction of the Union Jack – which we were told was designed for the occasion by Vivienne Westwood. Cool Britannia Rules again.