JK Rowling’s magical wizarding world finds a new life with an exclusive set of new live concerts. Supported by a live orchestra inside London’s glorious Royal Albert Hall, it seems there’s never enough new ways to head to Hogwarts…
4. The venue
London’s Royal Albert Hall is often labelled one of the greatest in the world, and we all know it to be true. We’ve seen live music concerts and awards here, but to watch cinema on a large screen framed by a budding orchestra below was new. Ideally sat under the screen and supported inside the circular housing of the Albert Hall makes the most wonderful place for a magical movie like this. Although a location of great size, it did often feel like we could all be at a friends house watching the DVD – only this time there’s one rather exciting magical (and musical) addition.
3. The movie
It’s perfect. There, we’ve said it – but we know you don’t disagree with us. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is our first introduction to the Potter world. It’s true that cinematography has moved on and there’s the occasional notice of age in its being, but that’s what makes the levels of nostalgia soar so regularly. It’s the youthfulness of this cast and the much-missed faces of sadly an ever-rising number of iconic actors that we’ve lost that make age a brilliant but also difficult thing here.
However, this first movie captures the excitement of what’s about to come. We all know what happens next, but that doesn’t mean we’re against rediscovering their stories once again. We’re happy to do so for every movie while we’re at it – just, please ensure it includes a live orchestra.
2. The atmosphere
Conductor Justin Freer told us from the start that this was our night. It wasn’t about celebrating just the movie, but to enjoy it as a collective. If you’ve a favourite character or actor that appears, then cheer. If a baddie appears or hurts someone you love on screen, then make it known you’re not happy. And when it comes to your individual houses, cheer even louder than before… and that’s just what the entire Royal Albert Hall did.
These instructions, however simple, turned a night of cinema, in quite a serious and historic venue, into a fun and joining union of all Potter fans. We all love the movies – heck, that’s why we’re all here – so why not enjoy them all together. It also highly amusing to see which characters are loved – including a certain person that we can’t speak of. It’s the magical joining of muggles (and the occasional wizards) that JK Rowling would be proud to see standing together.
1. The Orchestra
It was a night of wonderful success for Justin Freer as he lead perfectly this orchestra of fine musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra to present John Williams’ stunning musical work. Through every note and nuance, it soon felt like watching Harry Potter for the very first time – such is the brilliance of a live orchestra. Thankfully, with such experience, the voices on screen remain crisp while the ideally balance musical ensemble support in those fine delicate theme tune breaks through to crashing drama and suspense. Hedwig’s Theme a complete highlight, bringing the entire hall into silence.
We’re sure not every movie will have such success with the addition of a live orchestra, but Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Concert certainly is one that does work. It’s a stunning film, exciting orchestra and a practically perfect venue that make this new medium of discovering JK Rowling’s magical work as exciting as it did over those ten years before.
Now… can we come back and see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, please?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Concert – 5/5
More information on the Harry Potter in Concert series at the Royal Albert Hall can be found here.