Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia! were tonight sung by a choir at the Last Night of the Proms following furious backlash over lyrics being pulled due to ‘colonial ties.’
The highly-anticipated concert featured South-African soprano Golda Schultz with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under its principal guest conductor Dalia Stasevska.
Musicians performed live at the venue, but without a live audience due to restrictions in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia! were tonight sung by a choir at the Last Night of the Proms following furious backlash over lyrics being pulled due to ‘colonial ties’
The BBC made a dramatic U-turn so the traditional British anthems could be performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London despite weeks of controversy over their inclusion
The original plan would have seen the pieces, seen by some as controversial because of their perceived ties to imperialism, performed without lyrics.
Ms Stasevska spoke out amid the controversy to say she played no role in the decision to strip the pieces of lyrics.
The run-up to the Last Night saw musicians, media industry figures and even Prime Minister Boris Johnson weigh in to the debate over the pieces.
‘It will not be a usual Last Night, but it will be a night not just to look forward to, but to remember,’ it was said.
Musicians performed live at the venue, but without a live audience due to restrictions in place amid the coronavirus pandemic
The BBC Proms later said: ‘Both pieces will now include a select group of BBC singers. This means the words will be sung in the hall, and as we have always made clear, audiences will be free to sing along at home.
‘While it can’t be a full choir, and we are unable to have audiences in the hall, we are doing everything possible to make it special and want a Last Night truly to remember.
‘We hope everyone will welcome this solution. We think the night itself will be a very special moment for the country – and one that is much needed after a difficult period for everyone.’
The U-turn came after director-general Lord Hall was succeeded in the role by Tim Davie, the former chief executive of commercial arm BBC Studios.