BWW REVIEW: BLUE PLANET II LIVE IN CONCERT Is A Brilliant Pairing Of Sydney Symphony Orchestra With The BBC's Famous Nature Show, Beautifully Narrated by Joanna Lumley
Friday 8th March 2019, 8pm, ICC Theatre Sydney
Han Zimmer, Jacob Shea and David Fleming's cinematic compositions come to life as Sydney Symphony Orchestra pairs with BBC Studio's magnificent marine life footage for BLUE PLANET II LIVE IN CONCERT, narrated live by Joanna Lumley. Following on from BBC One's 2017 debut of the Award Winning Blue Planet II television series, excerpts from the 7 part series are projected on a state of the art 75 square metre 4K Ultra HD LED Screen as Conductor Vanessa Scammell leads the 57 piece orchestra and 11 strong choir from The Song Company.
For the two hour (including interval) concert, 14 stories are presented on the screen with incredible clarity as the orchestra plays in front of the screen. In a move becoming popular, the live orchestra pairing with screen footage reminds the audience of the importance of composition and sound design in creating the mood of the television, movies and theatre that we love. Too often the composers, sound designers and musicians are not given the credit they deserve and concerts like this help finally acknowledge their contribution to the art that we enjoy. Zimmer, Shea and Fleming have carefully created accompaniments to reinforce the anticipation, comedy, suspense, mystery and relief of the action on film. The sound of the live orchestra is perfectly mixed with the animal sounds from the footage to present a complete experience. The compositions beautifully capture the energy and essence of the oceans. Common themes of hunts have been presented in a range of styles that convey the anticipation of whether the predator will succeed or if the prey will live to see another day whilst other works that aren't as 'food' focused are presented with light comical melodies or poignant tenderness.
Lumley's interest in nature and the need for environmental preservation is clear as she introduces the pieces from the side of the stage. Whilst brief, the narration conveys Lumley's enthusiasm and awe of the work, setting up the suspense for the work to follow. The information is detailed enough to set the scenes without detracting from the main focus of the evening, the footage and the music.
BLUE PLANET II LIVE IN CONCERT is a fabulous way to experience the impressive television program as few home entertainment systems could compare with the enormous clear screen and hearing music live has a special quality that should be experienced whenever possible. This is a work for all ages as nature proves itself to be even more entertaining that the wildest stories and characters Hollywood can create. BLUE PLANET II LIVE IN CONCERT will have you laughing at the antics of Saddleback Clownfish mistaking a hermit crab's shell for a potential new egg laying surface and Octopus hiding from Striped Pajama Sharks. It will have you holding your breath to see if the Sooty Tern escapes the Giant Trevally and if comical Sally Lightfoot crab can outrun a Moray Eel and Octopus who have come out of the water in search of supper. It elicits collective oohs and aahs from the audience as the sad looking North Atlantic Puffin goes to great lengths to save a meal for his offspring and the Walrus mother cuddles her pup as they seek their own iceflow.