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HARRY POTTER & WASO @ Perth Convention Centre gets 9/10

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone w/ WASO @ Perth Convention Exhibition Centre
Saturday, May 6, 2017


Harry Potter was my entire childhood. From fostering my love to read, to feeling an affinity with the characters, to stepping out of adolescence almost as simultaneously as the books finished, I, like many millions of others could never turn down an offer to relive those days. When it was announced the West Australian Symphony Orchestra would be performing the score I saw it as the perfect opportunity to combine both nerdy passions into the perfect evening – but alas, I was not prepared for the night that ensued.

My expectation for the event was a classy orchestral evening at which the score, written by John Williams, would be played. What actually happened was a boisterous, interactive all ages event that saw WASO playing before a huge high definition screen whilst the motion picture played in the background. I’d never considered that the movie and the ensemble could run together, but with every sound effect, every interlude piece, every heroic scene the orchestra came to life and played so perfectly, so syncopated that it sounded almost unreal.

In my years of attending operas, ballets and orchestras I have learnt and adapted to the behaviour one must exhibit. Wear something posh, don’t make audible remarks, don’t “woo” or scream, wait for intermission to go to the toilet, don’t leave before the end etc. For some reason all of these social rules and more went out the window. Upon every introduction of a beloved character there was uproar of screams and claps, for every hated character there was a “boo” or a hiss. People yelled funny remarks to get laughs from the rest of the crowd and some sat quoting lines just before they were said. During interval, all those dressed up in costume formed a line and took pictures with other budding fans. It was strange but also nice to see how enthused an audience there was. I wondered how the orchestra felt with such a rowdy reception and the fact that some of the time the screams over powered a quiet introduction to a piece.

Watching a musician pick up their instrument, knowing what they were about to play or how it would sound, tore down a wall between the film and viewer. You felt as though you were right there in the scene in the magical world of Harry Potter. I guess that was the only downfall to this was because you’d become so engrossed in the movie and that world that it was easy to forget there was an amazing collection of almost 100 musicians playing along.

WASO and organisers did something I didn’t think was possible. They brought appreciation to a classical orchestra, from an audience that would never have previously considered even attending one of their shows. They educated the audience on the amount of effort and manpower that goes into creating the backing tracks of a film and expressed how powerful music is in creating a mood or how integral it is in any form of the arts. I’m not even embarrassed to admit it was probably one of the best nights of my life.


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