I went on to the Royal Albert Hall to join the queue for Prom 49, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard. This had been advertised as ending at 9.30pm, which seemed a bit optimistic; somehow, by the time the programmes were printed, they had discovered an extra 45 minutes of music and it was due to end at 10.15pm. The rational thing to have done, given it was a Sunday evening and public transport options for some may be rather limited, would surely have been to start earlier, but once you have advertised and sold tickets I guess that becomes too difficult.
The chosen setting for this semi-staged performance seemed to be mostly Victorian, with the Yeomen warders dressed in costume emblazoned 'V R' and the other members of the cast looking of a similar period, although its setting is intended to be the time of Henry VIII. I was familiar with some of the music, but not with the plot, which turns out to be suitably absurd and derivative (think Cosi fan tutte, Fidelio) yet of course original as well. Amongst the principal members of the cast, I particularly enjoyed the singing of Mark Richardson (Sergeant Meryll), Dame Felicity Palmer (Dame Carruthers) and Heather Shipp (Phoebe Meryll) - the last of these a very successful last-minute replacement. Conductor Jane Glover clearly enjoyed the event with the BBC Concert Orchestra; the pace was generally fine, but maybe a little leisurely on occasion. It's a curious ending, in which many of the cast have committed themselves to futures for which they hold little enthusiasm, and the Fool Jack Point falls dead (ambiguous on this point according to the programme notes, but fairly clear in this particular interpretation) - rather more bitter than one might expect for our heroes, but well appreciated by the audience.