No stranger to John Williams scores and Star Wars concerts, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra returned to Art Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall to perform the Australian premiere of Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert. As soon as you approach Hamer Hall, you’re greeted by Darth Vader, his stormtroopers and two giant lightsabers. I thought that this display was well organised and allowed for fans to line up for photos with the characters in front of the giant lightsabers. And if you didn’t want to wait in line, there were two other stormtroopers inside the venue with no line and were happy to take photos with patrons.
Upon entering the hall, it was evident that the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra had put some thought to creating a themed and fun atmosphere, with the room illuminated in both blue and red dividing Hamer Hall with both light side and dark side. Once conductor Benjamin Northey arrived, escorted by stormtroopers no doubt, the concert began. I thought that it was a nice touch for Benjamin Northey to conduct with a little glowing red light saber at the start of show before converting back for the rest of the concert with his usual baton.
From the Main Theme, Princess Leia’s Theme, to The Last Battle and the Throne Room, every moment of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s concert was a joy to watch. It is imperative that when at a MSO in concert, to look away from the screen at times to watch the musicians. It is quite mesmerising watching the violinists’ bows move in unison, like a dance. Having experienced MSO film concerts before such as Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park at this very same venue, the acoustics of Hamer Hall were once again second to none. The only disappointment I had with this concert was that the Cantina Band theme was not played live, but this is through no fault of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as this how the footage was provided to them by Disney Concerts.
While the special effects of Star Wars: A New Hope are quite dated, John Williams’ score is not and has stood the test of time. Williams’ iconic score is an evident reminder that music can help make or break a film. John Williams’ musical magic helped pave the way for future films in the series which is universally loved to this day.
If you love the score, you’ll want to hear it live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. These movie concerts have become one of my favourite past times when watching the MSO, and I can’t recommend it enough that this is something that you need to see and experience live.
Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert is playing at Art Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall for four concerts from the 1st to the 3rd of February. If you can’t make it to these performances, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will be doing the next installment in the Star Wars concert series, performing The Empire Strikes Back in Concert this December at The Plenary, Melbourne. Tickets go on sale Monday the 5th of February.