A much-loved event in the Glasgow calendar, Proms in the Park is one of those strange concerts that both thrills and frustrates. The constant changes of personnel as one act follows another, the live link-up with the Royal Albert Hall and venues across Britain, the fireworks and the swell of thousands of people singing Auld Lang Syne – all give the night a buzzing festival atmosphere.
Proms in the Park, Glasgow Green ****
But when vocalists of such purity as Hannah Rarity and Elizabeth Watts, or the musical brilliance of violin and cello duo the Ayoub Sisters, take to the stage you want the crowd to melt away, stop chatting and stumbling back from the bar and just listen.
Rarity won BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year award in January and her self-penned song Where Are You Tonight (I Wonder)? had a rare punch mixed with delicate beauty that no doubt won her some new fans. So too soprano Watts, whose wonderfully expressive delivery went from coquettish to consternation in line with the Rossini and Dvořák works she performed.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor is well used to an outdoor festival stage so her hits Murder on the Dancefloor et al seemed right at home here. More fresh-faced, and clearly loving this opportunity to play alongside the superb BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, were the young musicians of Stirling’s Big Noise Raploch – making anything but a noise.
Host Jamie MacDougall held it all together with relaxed bonhomie, with his own powerful vocals hitting more than one heart-swelling high note. - Kelly Apter