One of the biggest and most popular annual events in the classical music world is about to commence, with the BBC Proms scheduled to begin its eight-week run on July 12th. As some of the year's biggest concerts light up the Royal Albert Hall and other venues across the English capital, it's the perfect time for music buffs to book themselves into London hotels and enjoy sublime offerings from the likes of Richard Wagner, Benjamin Britten and Giuseppe Verdi.
The Proms has graced London for over 100 years, but this year's edition still manages to boast a handful of firsts. For instance, it's the first time that a woman has received the estimable honour of being handed the baton to lead the Last Night of the Proms. Marin Alsop will guide the BBC Symphony Orchestra through the world-famous season finale – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and a major television event.
It's also the first time that a complete performance of Wagner's monumental Ring Cycle will take place within the confines of a single Proms season. Marking the 200th anniversary of the German composer's birth, the celebrated Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim will helm all four installments of the work. Taken together, Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung typically last for a massive 15 hours.
Verdi's 200th anniversary is also celebrated this year and will be commemorated at the BBC Proms by performances from two leading Italian orchestras. Finally, the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth will be marked by a total of 12 concerts, including a performance of Billy Budd by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
The 2013 BBC Proms runs from July 12th until September 7th and a full list of the many performances can be found on the BBC website. The programme's perennial popularity means that demand is as high as usual, so would-be attendees are advised to book their tickets as soon as possible.
For those who miss out, not all is lost – the BBC promises a greater number of broadcasts on its television channels and radio stations than ever.