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The MSO are bringing the magic and music of Harry Potter to the stage

“I look forward to the concert giving the audience a new-found appreciation of film music and its supporting role in the picture.”

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For many, it makes up most of their childhood. For more, it is their childhood and far more than that. No matter what light you cast it in, Harry Potter is a staple of pop culture, full of whimsical adventures, characters with immeasurable depth and iconic locales. A staple book series turned into a veritable juggernaut when the movies were released and fans could finally experience the magic of J.K. Rowling’s words all performed on the silver screen. With the addition of a score composed by John Williams for these magical flicks, it claims musical fame as well.

It’s only fitting that the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) have decided to tackle the musical aspects of the first two movies back to back, and create something both unique and exciting for fans of the series. Behind the conductor’s baton is Nicholas Buc, who is quite excited about the performance.

“We’ve already performed this show around the world,” Buc said. “Japan, France, Finland, the USA and Australia, just to name a few.” Being the pop-culture phenomenon that it is, the amount of worldly locations that such a show has found an audience at isn’t surprising in the slightest. The magic of the Harry Potter world spans continents. But what’s most exciting is that the MSO are back on home ground, just for us. Their performance will take place in the Plenary at the MCEC, and the setup for it will be a sight to behold.

According to Buc, the show will be set up with the orchestra sitting in the theatre pit, with the first two Harry Potter films projected onto a massive screen above them. The film’s original scores will be omitted, allowing the Orchestra to perform their own score in sync with what’s happening above them. This will allow the audience to “hear how the instruments come together for certain parts of the movie, and the characters,” and also allow them to “dissect each part.

“I look forward to the concert giving the audience a new-found appreciation of film music and its supporting role in the picture,” Buc said.

With the music crafted by John Williams, it’s only natural that the score sounds amazing. But it would surely be a difficult task not only performing to a live audience, but also performing in sync with the film. “There are some fiendishly difficult parts for violinists and strings,” Buc says “It’s quite a challenge. Often times, the musical subtleties of the movies are overlooked, but John Williams’ brilliant orchestrations give every scene emotional depth.”

It would stand to reason that Buc, and the MSO as a whole, stand to deliver on every emotional twang that this score has to offer, and they intend to do so to the best of their ability. Even with this unique challenge in mind, it certainly seems like the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will pull it off with flying colours. Described as “unique and exciting” by Buc, each film will be performed separately, but for the true diehards, there is also a special night featuring a two-part performance of both The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets performed over more than three hours.

“We hope that Melbourne will be all the better for it,” Buc said. With a constant smile in his voice, he certainly seems ready to lead the charge for MSO’s performance. It’s a must-see for both new fans and old, and welcomes orchestral aficionados with open arms.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Live in Concert will be performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at The Plenary, MCEC on Thursday November 16 and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Live in Concert on Friday November 17. A special double performance of both films will take place on Saturday November 18. Beanbag seating is available.