Spring has sprung, at BBC Radio 3 anyway, where listeners can tune in for a cracking line-up of shows and series. With the sun (hopefully) shining, the station steps out to take in music and arts festivals from across the country, including events broadcast from Hay Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, York Early Music Festival, WOMAD, Cheltenham and Edinburgh International Festival.
It’s one big celebration, building up to the BBC’s very own festival, the BBC Proms, as Radio 3’s Controller Alan Davey shares.
‘As we gear up to unveil the return of the Proms as we know them, after two strange and uncertain years for music and the arts, we can now rejoice in the arrival of the Spring and Summer seasons, with a fantastic choice of performances happening on stages in concert halls, outdoor venues and from our studios across the UK. Passion, emotion, drama and space to reflect – food for the heart and soul is the core of Radio 3 this Spring, with a season of exciting and stimulating programmes of music, drama, poetry and ideas. Music and Art for Everyone – that’s the continuing spirit of BBC Radio 3 as we make sense of the world around us.’
The roster of artists featured is as impressive as the locations, with performances on the cards from the likes of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Singers; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Chineke! Chamber Ensemble, Royal Northern Sinfonia, The Sixteen, Takács Quartet, Magdalena Kožená, Golda Schultz, Anne Sofie von Otter and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists.
The season also sees popular Radio 3 programmes hit the road, including Breakfast, which will see Petroc Trelawny travelling across the Great Glen in Scotland to explore how landscape and history intertwine with culture and music. Jess Gillam also heads out of the studio, taking her award-wining This Classical Life on the road to UK festivals for the first time. She will be sitting down for a listening party with festival audiences to chat about the music they love most from any era, genre or style.
Opera on 3 presents new productions from UK opera houses, including: Britten’s Peter Grimes and Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila rom the Royal Opera House. Plus there’s Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen from English National Opera and Wagner’s Parsifal from Opera North.
Drama fans will enjoy Drama on 3, which marks the centenary of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land with a special radio performance. It’s part of a varied season of dramatic radio premieres including Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra in a new version with Adjoa Andoh and Tim McInnerny.
The Vaughan Williams 150th anniversary will be celebrated with a four-week Composer of the Week focus, and a special series of programmes across all schedules throughout May, including: BBC Philharmonic and The Hallé completing the Vaughan Williams’s Symphony Cycle; and Between the Ears presenting a re-imagining of The Lark Ascending with sampled lark birdsong.
All that, plus a celebration of jazz icon Charles Mingus, Nielsen in concert and the long-awaited return of Clemency Burton-Hill, who presents Classical Fix as part of a special ‘Mindfulness and Nature’ strand.
Tune in or visit bbc.co.uk/radio3 for more details.
Photo: Jess Gillam