BWW Review: 'AMADEUS' LIVE WITH THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC at David Geffen Hall At Lincoln Center
"Let's go to the movies!" is a phrase not often heard inside David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. After all, this is the home of the august New York Philharmonic. But wait! As part of Artistic Advisor Alec Baldwin's The Art of the Score series, the Philharmonic has teamed up with Avex Classics International to bring us "Amadeus", (the 1984 Oscar winner for Best Picture) about the last 10 years in the life of almost everyone's favorite boy genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and his putative relationship with rival composer, Antonio Salieri.
But wait! There's more....
The abundant music in the film is played live by the New York Philharmonic musicians and sung by the renowned New York City chorus, Musica Sacra (under the direction of Kent Tritle). The Philharmonic has performed the music from "Star Wars", "E.T. the Extraterrestrial" with the screening of the movies, and a number of others, but this is the first time a film about musicians and their private lives has been shown. And what a film it is!
In his New York Philharmonic directorial debut, Richard Kaufman expertly leads the orchestra and chorus through thirty-five music cues, some of which have no pause or segue between them. This takes precision timing on the part of the musicians and conductor. Using a click-track perched on his podium, Mr. Kaufman is able to pinpoint exactly when and where his musicians need to play.
There's nothing in the world which compares to the sound of live music. Hearing Mozart's sparkling music in its full glory gives the movie even more of a presence and makes it that much more compelling. The climactic scene in which the dying Mozart dictates the "Confutatis" section of his Requiem to Salieri with the music underscoring the action becomes absolutely breathtaking with the live orchestra. It is a brilliant musical and theatrical moment.
"Amadeus" never strove to tell Mozart's story in a didactic, absolutely historical manner, and it doesn't. It is, however, terrific historical fiction with a splendid cast (including a cameo role for a very young Cynthia Nixon) who make each character come alive. The final piece is the New York Philharmonic, which brings the central character, the glorious music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, front and center, exactly where it belongs.
The final performance of "Amadeus" will be given on Tuesday, April 17 also at 7:30 pm. The House was nearly sold out on Thursday night, so try to get your tickets for this unique experience as soon as possible. It is a not-to-be-missed New York moment!