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Melbourne Symphony Orchestra presents Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Live in Concert - Review

Home > Melbourne > Cinema | Classical Music | Performing Arts | Theatre
by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
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Event: -
Experience the magic like never before
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, MSO
Image via MSO website

All great films are made so (at least in part) by their music – think of Pulp Fiction's iconic use of rock music, or Amelie's whimsical use of accordions. But few films have a legacy so enduring, or a score so memorable, as the Harry Potter franchise. And this weekend, wizards and witches of Melbourne have been treated to a movie-going experience like no other, thanks to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra presents Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

One of the best parts of attending one of the MSO's Harry Potter screenings is the eclectic mix of the crowd – some were small children who are new to the films, some were older audience members who have grown up on the books, and some were parents with fond memories of reading it aloud for their children. But for all these audience members, the experience of seeing such a beloved film series brought to life in a new way is a truly magical phenomenon.

The ability to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with a live score is special for another reason – the third movie in the franchise is also the last film to have been scored by renowned composer John Williams. It was an honour acknowledged by MSO conductor (and proud Hufflepuff) Nicholas Buc, who began by describing the breadth of genres Williams included in the film, from fast-paced jazz to renaissance-style arrangements, to ominous choral chants. As Buc led the MSO and MSO Chorus through the impressive score, it gave the audience a new appreciation for the incredible role music has in elevating a film from merely entertaining, to truly captivating. The MSO were on fine form, and the addition of choral singers – decked out of course in their house scarves – allowed the talent of all the musicians to shine through. It is a testament to their skills that at times, it was easy for forget there was a live orchestra at all, so impeccable was their timing and performance.

As audiences filtered out of the Plenary after the performance finished, it was impossible not to hum a few bars of that iconic score. And for everyone there – be they lifelong classical music lover or first-time symphony-goer – it gave new insight into how the stories we love are made all the more powerful by the music that accompanies them. It just goes to show that the music and magic of Hogwarts go hand in hand.
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Why? All the magic of Harry Potter brought to life!
Where: Plenary, Melbourne Exhibition Centre
Cost: $25 - $119
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