With conductor Edwin Outwater leading the BBC Concert Orchestra and rhythm section, multi award-winning actress and singer Cynthia Erivo played tribute to the “legendary voices” of popular music: Barbra Streisand, Sinéad O’Connor, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and many more.

Erivo was clearly playing to a home crowd: the Royal Albert Hall had already risen to a standing ovation before the interval, and by the end, Erivo was unable to leave the stage as the cheers kept going and going. Working from a foundation of technical flawnessness (she plays eight shows a week on Broadway), Erivo’s voice retains a girlish immaturity that lends a certain vulnerability to her interpretations, even of powerhouse soul classics.

The short concert (just thirty minutes each half) opened with an utterly spectacular, full orchestral rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (Jule Styne, arr. Rickey Minor), and with our jaws already on the floor, Erivo also brought the house down with “Feeling Good” (Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse, arr. Jeremy Levy), as well as Erivo’s own self-composed ballad, “You’re Not Here” (arr. Will Wells) mostly accompanied by simple, solo piano.

This is not a Prom for the classical purists, though a development on the Nina Simone counterpoint in the instrumental “Love Me or Leave Me” (Walter Donaldson, arr. Erik Jekabson) particularly showcased the crossover between the worlds of classical music and soul music. One could only criticise the Prom for its use of only one singer to celebrate “legendary voices”.

Tickets for all 72 Proms are available from just £7.12 on the BBC Proms 2022 website.

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