A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals

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Each Summer since 1895, The BBC Proms, formally known as The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, offers an eight-week season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London. In 2009, when the total number of concerts reached 100 for the first time, the highlight of the season was a concert celebrating 75 years of classic MGM film musicals. For the first time, American television audiences can see this spectacular performance in the new public television special A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals.

Conductor/arranger John Wilson and his hand-picked John Wilson Orchestra, along with English operatic baritone Sir Thomas Allen, English operatic soprano Sarah Fox, American musical entertainer/actress Kim Criswell, American jazz vocalist Curtis Stigers, and American animator/director/Grammy nominee Seth MacFarlane celebrate the golden age of Hollywood musicals performing iconic songs from some of cinema’s most enduring movies, including The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St Louis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, High Society, An American in Paris, Gigi, and Singin’ in the Rain.

The concert is unique as a live performance of movie soundtrack standouts like “Get Happy,” “The Trolley Song,” “Gigi,” and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” that put American popular culture at the center of the BBC Proms season, but also for the fact that all of the original orchestral parts were lost in 1969 when MGM’s music library was destroyed. Wilson painstakingly reconstructed the original scores, a decade’s worth of work by the young conductor/arranger.

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