I’m all about going to different events. Clearly concerts are my passion and there’s no better feeling than watching screaming guitars, pounding drums and feeling passionate lyrics but, when you do it every night, it’s nice to change things up every now and then. I feel like I’m always looking out for that unusual concert or that music event that is a little strange or different so when the Minnesota Orchestra announced they would be doing a performance of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in concert I just couldn’t resist. My two passions of music and Harry Potter (yes, I’m a huge Potter fan and even have a giant Harry Potter tattoo on my arm) combined last night to create a night that will not soon be forgotten by me or anyone else in the beautiful Orchestra Hall last night.
The last time I was at Orchestra Hall was in college. A professor in college had taken my class to take a tour of the beautiful venue and although I never went back until last night, I never forgot the beauty that the place holds. After getting my ticket and a mandatory glass of wine because, in my mind, that’s what you do when you go to the orchestra, I weaved through the excited crowd and got ushered to my seat. I sat down ready to scan my social media feeds while I waited for the show to begin as I typically do when I arrive at shows early but my phone stayed in my purse as I just took in the auditorium. Clean, gorgeous, and not a bad spot in the house, I instantly texted my editor from my other blog explaining that I absolutely had to cover more shows here. There’s something classic and comfy about being at Orchestra Hall and it was a feeling that I hadn’t had in awhile and one that I’m not sure how long I can go without feeling again.
Instead of a deafening amount of cheering, screaming, hooting and hollering when the lights went down, the audience broke into a polite round of applause before going silent again upon the bow of conductor Nicholas Buc. From there on out my night went from a night at the orchestra to a living dream that I may or may not try to experience again before the weekend is over.
The show started with Nicholas welcoming men, women, children, muggles and wizards alike to the night of entertainment. He then went on to set the scene for the fourth movie in a series that truly changed the lives of many in multiple generations (don’t fight me on that… you know I’m right). Although I didn’t need the quick refresher since my addiction has led me to memorize nearly every word of every one of the Harry Potter movies, Nicholas did a great job of getting everyone ready. Then, just like that, the lights went down and the movie began to play on the screen floating over the giant orchestra. Having never done one of these live movie in concert orchestra shows (there have been a couple including Star Wars and a Legend of Zelda one), I didn’t quite know what to expect but I knew within seconds that this was going to be a magical night.
I took one film class in college and I really didn’t take much away from it other than that teacher explaining that, without music, movies really aren’t much of anything. After he made that statement, I started realizing that there are very few moments in movies these days without music behind them. If there are moments without music, they are usually intense and a climax of some sort. Although I never forgot about it, as I listened to the orchestra play through the entire movie I realized that that teacher was 100% right. Sure, I knew the music in Harry Potter was important and to say some of the songs are genius wouldn’t be a stretch but it wasn’t until watching through the entire movie with a live orchestra that I really understood the importance of the music in this movie.
The musicians were working their butts off throughout the two hour, thirty seven minute film. Although there were some down moments throughout the film, majority of the time was spent with with musicians sitting at attention and waiting for their turn to jump in and add to the magical evening. I found it hard to focus on the orchestra rather than the movie. Maybe that was because I think the movies are so well done but I more attribute it to the fact that the music was beyond the point of perfection. It was honestly more like just watching the movie with surround sound (or at least I assume that’s what this was like as I’ve never experienced surround sound) and it wasn’t until you unglued your eyes from the screen and started watching the individual musicians and conductor that you really realized that talent and work that it takes to pull something off like this. This is a double edged sword really. The orchestra was so talented that it was hard to take your eyes off the screen because they were professional and never interrupted the movie nor derived from the soundtrack that we have all come to know and love. I wanted to spend my time watching the musicians but it was hard to not just watch the movie and let the music hit you in the most perfect way.
Last night was my first time experiencing the Minnesota Orchestra and it surely won’t be my last. From the beauty of the auditorium to the amazing musicianship and the creativity that went into hosting an event like this (they had a woman walking around with a little cart of candy asking if anyone would like something off the trolley as they do in this movie). I know it’s kind of a copout to call a night of Harry Potter a magical evening but that’s exactly what it was.