BWW Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST IN CONCERT, Royal Albert Hall
Beauty and the Beast in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall enhanced a wonderful star-studded movie by having its beautiful score expertly played by the Philharmonia Orchestra. This film is a great choice for a movie screening with live music because Alan Menken's score seems like it's meant to be heard with a full orchestra.
The Philharmonia, skilfully conducted by David Firman, was joined by the English Chamber Choir, which made the performance even more nuanced. This was the European premiere of the film, which was released in March 2017, as a live concert. Menken's beautiful score was played by the orchestra, while all the original voice work and sound effects were kept.
The Beauty and the Beast live action remake is a hugely successful film, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast and directed by Bill Condon. It's a fairly faithful adaptation of the 1991 animated Disney classic, but with some changes that make the Beast more likeable and Belle more independent. It also boasts performances from the likes of Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson and Sir Ian McKellen.
The sound was balanced very well in all the singing parts, but there were occasional issues in balancing the orchestra with spoken dialogue. Luckily, subtitles were on the screen, which helped in any moments when it was hard to hear. It also was nice to have an interval halfway through the film, which made it feel like more of a theatrical event.
Highlights for the orchestra included sweeping numbers like the prologue and the wolf chase scene, in addition to much-beloved songs such as "Be Our Guest" and "Beauty and the Beast." Another favourite was "Evermore", one of the songs added for the new live-action remake.
Hearing a live orchestra play the introductory Disney music at the beginning of the film brought a few tears to my eyes. Getting to watch a beautiful film with a large orchestra was a wonderful opportunity, and I hope that the Royal Albert Hall continues to expand their programming for this type of event in the future.
Beauty and the Beast in Concert was at the Royal Albert Hall on 9 December.