Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, suggested that the profits from the 1851 Great Exhibition  should pay for new museums, libraries, schools and exhibition rooms. He died ten years later –before plans for a grand concert hall reached fruition1. Difficulties, including a shortage of cash meant that Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the splendid concert hall that was to be named after her beloved consort2, Prince Albert, some years later, in 1867. The Royal Albert Hall, modelled on Roman amphitheatres, was opened in 1871, and has been a venue3 for the best in classical music ever since.

The huge circular wall is composed of red brick adorned4 with a terracotta frieze5 around the outside which illustrates the Triumph of Arts and Letters6. All of this is surmounted7 by a vast dome of glass and iron. The auditorium can seat over five thousand visitors. Wagner conducted8 the Wagner festival concerts here in 1877. Inside can be found one of the mightiest organs in the world with more than 9,000 pipes. Bruckner played the organ at the opening concert. Modern audio techniques have been brought in to improve the acoustics since the sound previously tended to drift up9 into the dome and stay there. The programme of events at the Royal Albert Hall has expanded considerably, and these days it is used for pop as well as classical concerts, even for sporting events, rallies10, meetings and grand balls. However, it remains best known for the annual Sir Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, simply called The Proms, which are held daily from mid-August to mid-September. The Proms, established in the 1940s, encompass11 the whole range of classical music and their culmination – the Last Night of the Proms – is a joyful and noisy celebration at which the somewhat stuffy mantle12 of the classics is truly shed13. The Proms are now organised and broadcast by the BBC.

Janka Něničková

Vocabulary: 1uskutočniť sa – uskutečnit se; 2manžel kráľovny – choť královny; 3/venju:/ miesto konania – místo konání; 4ozdobený – ozdoben, zkrášlen; 5fríz, vlis – frýz, vlys; 6vzdelanosť, literatúra – vzdělanost, literatura; 7korunovaný, pokrytý – korunován, pokryt; 8dirigovať – dirigovat; 9byť unášaný – být unášen; 10zhromaždenie, míting – shromáždění, mítink; 11/inkamp∂s/ zahrňovať, obsahovať – zahrňovat, obsahovat; 12staromódny, konvenčný pláštik – konvenční plášť; 13vyzlečený – svlečen