- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: In Concert
- Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, MD)
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Justin Freer
- Thursday, August 4, 2016
- Roar Score: 5/5
This is the beginning of something wonderful. Beginning this summer, orchestras across the country (and around the world) will join forces with CineConcerts to present the entire score of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone played live while the film plays overhead on a massive screen.
This isn’t the first time movies have been screened in time with a live orchestra, but it IS the beginning of the Harry Potter Concert Series. All of the symphonies that signed up for the series have agreed to ultimately put on performances for all eight Harry Potter films. There’s not a schedule for the entire series yet, but if you’re a Potterphile, this is extraordinary news.
This week saw the premiere of the show with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and it didn’t disappoint. Not even in the slightest. The BSO is an amazing orchestra, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they brought every ounce of talent and energy to John Williams’s score as they do to Bach or Beethoven.
We’re obviously big fans of this type of presentation (i.e., live orchestra playing the score of a film), but I do have to admit that it’s sometimes unfair on the performers. It’s remarkably easy to get lost in the movie (if you’re a fan) and forget that the orchestra is actually playing every note live, right in front of you.
One of my biggest complaints (and this was not unique to the Harry Potter show) is with the audience, and it’s for this very reason. Too many people seem to be there just to watch the movie. They clap and cheer along to the events on screen and don’t pay due respect to the musicians.
Most appalling, though, is when the film ends and the credits start to roll. The music played over the end credits is often a compilation of all the major themes of the film, and it’s the orchestra’s time to shine. When a good 20% of the audience gets up and leaves (with the theater still darkened) while the orchestra is still playing is the height of disrespect. Those people should be ashamed of themselves.
You don’t go to a concert like this to see the movie. You go to hear the music played live. It’s a rare opportunity to experience the film in a brand-new way. The BSO delivered on the promise in every way imaginable. It’s just a shame some people (even though it was a minority) didn’t seem to notice.
Kudos to conductor Justin Freer and the BSO. It was an incredible performance, and we’ll definitely be back for the next seven! Bring on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has two more performances of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Friday, August 5 at the Music Center at Strathmore and then again at the Meyerhoff on Saturday, August 6. Tickets start at $35 and are available here.
Check here for future tour dates. Don’t be a Muggle and miss out on this incredible show!
(Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to this performance, but all opinions remain our own. It was just incredible.)