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The Royal Albert Hall was built with profits from the Great Exhibition, and commemorated the death of Prince Albert in 1861. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1867, and opened it four years later on the 29th March 1871.
The building was designed by Captain Francis Fowke and Henry Darracott, but problems with the acoustics led to it being labelled less than suitable for music – a terrible echo from the domed roof led to a famous joke: The Royal Albert Hall is the only place where a British composer can be sure of hearing his work twice. The problem was eventually solved in 1969, when a series of large fibreglass discs were suspended from the roof.
The most famous event held at London’s Albert Hall are the Sir Henry Wood Promenade Concerts – or The Proms. They were originally held in the Queen’s Hall on South Bank, until the Germans bombed it in 1941. They then transferred to the Royal Albert Hall and rose in popularity.
They are held for seven weeks every summer when visiting orchestras, famous soloists and conductors join in with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The famous ‘last night’ is a typically rowdy affair, with bombastic classical pieces and nationalistic roof-busters.
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Classical music events coming up in London…
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