BWW Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE IN CONCERT is a Magical Night of Delights

BWW Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE IN CONCERT is a Magical Night of Delights

Music is such an essential element of a movie watching experience, but like the involuntary act of breathing, it often gets taken for granted. This fantastic concert series pairs the much-beloved first Harry Potter film with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in a live experience that is truly magical. Though the film is 17 years old, it remains a timeless treasure for all ages, and getting to experience it in the awesome setting of the Providence Performing Arts Center is a fantastic opportunity all on its own. The true delight of the evening though is getting to witness the outstanding musicianship (and sheer numbers) of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Shih-Hung Young scoring the film live as the audience watches. Any stuffy ideas one may have about a night at the orchestra go out the window, as the musicians play for three straight hours without a single hiccup.

There is something incredibly fun about being packed into a beautiful space watching a beloved movie with superfans of the franchise. That's a well-established fact, but the experience of the Harry Potter Concert Series takes this to the next level. Audience members, many of them below the age of 16, arrive in long wizard's robes with scarves denoting their house assignment. While introducing the concert, conductor Young asked for people to cheer for Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, and it seemed to be a pretty even split among the audience and their house assignments. From there, the audience was also encouraged to react to the film, drawing loud cheers for Hagrid, Ron and Dumbledore, and both cheers and boos for Draco Malfoy.

The orchestra's performance was absolutely flawless, and really showcased the tremendous attention to detail that goes into scoring a film. In particular, there were several moments where there was almost no music except for a lone violin adding a bit of tension to a dramatic scene. Seeing the live performance also really makes one aware of the huge shifts in dramatic tone throughout the film. Plenty of the music is upbeat, but there's also danger, intrigue and action and the orchestra pivoted between moods without missing a beat--literally.

The only downside of this production, is that when seated at orchestra level, you can't actually see the whole orchestra. Those in the balcony could look down on all the musicians, whereas the lower level could only see the string section. That said, it's astounding to see the violinists ratcheting up drama in the opening credits of the movie and working in perfect unison.

Conductor Shih-Hung Young said in his opening remarks that they would like to do a film and orchestra pairing for each of the Harry Potter films, and hopefully that will come to pass. This is a unique and wonderful way to to re-experience a favorite movie.

Tickets for upcoming events at Providence Performing Arts Center [220 Weybosset St Providence, Rhode Island 02903 ] can be found at ppacri.org or by calling (401) 421 - ARTS (2787).

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