BWW Review: TSO's HOME ALONE IN CONCERT Creates a Sense of Community
A multi-generational community was created at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's HOME ALONE IN CONCERT. I grew up watching the film and it quickly became a tradition during the holiday season. Spending an evening laughing beside children who are maybe seeing the film for the first time, or grandparents who remember watching the film with their children and are now watching with their grandchildren - all while the score is brought to life by a live orchestra and choir - now that is beautiful.
As a fan of the symphony, it is also beautiful to see a crowd of over 2,000 people emphatically appreciating our city's fantastic symphony. I'm sure for many, it was their first time. This is what is so wonderful about these "in concert" events - they welcome new audiences to classical music, with open arms.
During an "in concert" event, the score of the film is removed, leaving only the dialogue, special sound effects and any featured music by other recording artists. The film's score is then performed live by an orchestra, while a conductor works with a copy of the score and a teleprompter that provides tempo, downbeats, and markings to highlight the precise timing of significant musical moments. The entire process is magical to watch.
Home Alone's score was composed by John Williams, who has been receiving the royal treatment in the "in concert" business. It's no mystery, Williams has composed some of the most popular scores in cinematic history - and they have become embedded in our culture. Just this past year, Toronto held "in concert" events for first two Harry Potter films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and coming up in January, Jurassic Park. Hearing Williams' score performed live by a symphony with such a professional calibre like the TSO, is a truly special experience.
Under the guidance of conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is the star of the show. With the TSO's help, the goosebump-inducing "Mom Returns" theme becomes powerful enough to draw tears. Kitsopoulos has the added task of guiding the Etobicoke School of the Arts Concert Choir through the film's score, while strictly maintaining the tempos needed to align the sound with the film.
The choir does a lovely job producing the haunting, rich sound required for the film's church scene, although they were quite loud, making it difficult to hear the film's dialogue. When the TSO performed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: in Concert at the Sony Centre, the film included subtitles that made it easier to follow the dialogue when the orchestra and choir were performing together. Subtitles ensure that none of the lines are missed in the orchestra's fluctuating dynamics.
If you enjoy nostalgic films, breathtaking music and communal laughter, you have two more chances to catch a performance of the TSO's HOME ALONE IN CONCERT. The Roy Thomson Hall is even selling popcorn and hot chocolate to complete the experience - bringing out the kid in all of us.
HOME ALONE IN CONCERT is presented by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with performances Saturday, December 2 at 2pm and 7:30pm at the Roy Thomson Hall
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit tso.ca
Run time is appromimately 2.5 hours, including a 20-minute intermission