Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in Concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – Live Review

Harry Potter has been a vital part of my life.

As a kid, I eagerly read through all the books and passionately followed the films, excitedly anticipating when the next one would be released. I even cosplayed for the final Harry Potter film during its cinematic release midnight screening, attending in my custom-made Hogwarts robes, complete with my Ravenclaw scarf and light-up wand. Attending the midnight screening with other passionate Harry Potter fans, I found myself crying my eyes out at the end.

This was an experience I never thought that I would relive. Well, until the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra took on the Harry Potter films as part of their film concert series.

Starting my journey alongside the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2017, together we’ve been through 8 Harry Potter films, 8 concerts, and 4 different composers consisting of John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat who worked on the final two films of the series. In the span of 6 years, it was finally time to say goodbye to Harry Potter through the MSO’s final instalment and concert, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and to witness Harry and his friends face their foes for the last time.

The final film of the Harry Potter franchise is the final Harry Potter book ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ split into two films. While Part 1 is slower, stealthier, and more suspenseful, Part 2 predominantly focuses on The Battle of Hogwarts, with its music livelier, the film containing more action sequences, and the narrative feels faster, punchier, as we collectively head to what is arguably one of the best conclusions in a film franchise.

Conductor Nicholas Buc seemed just as excited as we were for the final concert in the Harry Potter series. Having fans cheer for each house, with Slytherin surprisingly getting the biggest cheer in comparison to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw, I was very touched by Buc’s gesture, acknowledging those who had attended every MSO Harry Potter concert since the MSO started them. He requested those special patrons to stand, and I did, to which then Buc shared a wholesome, “Thank-you.”.

During the performance which had a run time of 2 and a half hours, including an interval, as strange as it sounds, I felt like I was watching the film again for the first time. There’s something just so magical about seeing a film live in concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. I love watching as the orchestra move in unison. It not only sounds beautiful, but visually, it’s like a dance. It’s truly stunning.

You also focus on the music and acknowledge the importance of music in cinema. Alexandre Desplat’s score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is no exception. ‘The Resurrection Stone’ is one of my favourite pieces from Desplat in this film, perfectly encapsulating this moving moment of Harry being reunited with his deceased loved ones one last time, ready to face Voldemort, and ready to die.

I have adored these concerts and the moment was not only triumphant for the MSO to finally reach the final film, but also bittersweet. I couldn’t believe that everything was all coming to an end. These concerts have meant so much to me. I’ve gained many friendships and have learnt a lot along the way, with every film a different and unique experience. Even the photo booth available at every film concert was great as it provided patrons, including myself, everlasting keepsakes for attending, injecting a little bit a of extra magic to an already wonderful event.

I’m sure that they’ve been a wonderful journey for many, like me, that grew up following the death-defying adventures of The Boy Who Lived. For some, this was their first time seeing these films and I couldn’t imagine a better setting! For others, this was not only their first film concert but their first time seeing a symphony orchestra live.

Needless to say, I, just like 12 years ago when I first saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, was bawling my eyes out at the end. The patrons during the night I attended even provided the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra a well deserved standing ovation. I’m really going to miss seeing patrons arrive wearing their Harry Potter inspired outfits, complete with their Hogwarts house scarves and I’m so grateful that the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra decided to take these films on.

It wasn’t just a film concert series. No, it was so much more than that. I am both humbled and honoured to have been part of this historical epic feat by the MSO, and to witness all these incredible scores by such brilliant composers has been a gift. I felt like I was part of a community and something extraordinary, unmatched by any other experience. Thank-you so much to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for this wonderful journey through cinema and music. I’ll cherish these memories, always.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 in Concert was performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for four shows across three dates, from March 30th to April 1st at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall. The Harry Potter concert series may be over, but the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra still have film concerts and classical concerts that are worth checking out.
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