From Hollywood With Love: Orchestra of Opera North – Live Review – Huddersfield Town Hall
By @Steve Crabtree, February 2018
An evening of live movie themes arrived in Huddersfield, as From Hollywood With Love with the Orchestra of Opera North hits the Town Hall for one night only.
With a history of Hollywood movie scores lined up, the knowledgeable Andrew Collins of Classic FM compered the night, and the eccentric and energetic Tobias Ringborg took the baton. Together they, and the wonderful Orchestra took us on a delightful journey through silver-screen time.
And as a few hundred people took their seats in the audience, I was taking in my first proper orchestra experience. Intrigued? Yes. Excited? Very.
The evening began with an almighty introduction to the brass section, via the theme from Captain Blood. A score by Erich Korngold whose work featured heavily throughout the evening. The Sea Hawk also created an impression to us onlookers, absolutely thrilled at the talents of this fine orchestra in front of us.
Collins took up a seat at the front of stage, facing the audience, in what you’d thought might be an awkward position. But you actually forgot he was there – there was more important things going on behind him! But it was great that he had an active role in the evening. His interjection between scores was a big part of the show. Narrating the night, sliding in his opinion and the historical facts of each piece of music; he was refreshing and humorous. He’s the perfect host, and perfect side order to all the wonderful sound that the orchestra served up.
John Williams‘ work was also a staple part of the night. The second half of the performance highlighted the relationship between him and Korngold. Collins told of the inspiration that ‘Kings Row’ had on Williams’ memorable Star Wars score. And the orchestra put in a stellar delivery of that very famous theme. And you think you’re familiar with it until you hear it performed live in front of your eyes. A whole new dimension is added to it as over 60 musicians energetically work their way through the number.
Seeing the orchestra in full flow does makes you wonder how they manage it. It must be such a technical method of rehearsal to get so many members of the same and differing sections to play together.
Stand-out parts of the night for me were the performance of ‘The Godfather’ (Nino Rota), where a mandolin and accordion joined the orchestra; and we were lucky to have Ringborg reach for his violin to lead an awe-inspiring performance of ‘Schindler’s List’ – again by John Williams.
After a night that included the themes from Gone With The Wind (Max Steiner), North by Northwest (Bernard Herrmann) Limelight (Charlie Chaplin) and Thief Of Bagdad: Eternal Love (Miklós Rózsa), the show ends with another Williams number – the euphoric Superman theme tune. Again, it’s one to hear live as the score reaches a different level.
I left Huddersfield Town Hall feeling energised. There’s something about the live Orchestra of Opera North that I can’t quite find the words for, but it’s something beyond great. Naively, I’ve been guilty of taking these theme tunes for granted in films. That’s something that instantly changed after hearing such talented musicians give me a wonderful evening.
Top image: Richard Moran