Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – Live Review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire. When Stormtrooper, Finn played by John Boyega defects from the First Order, he crash-lands on desert planet Jakku and finds friendship in scavenger, Rey played by Daisy Ridley. Together with a droid, a Wookie and a reluctant war hero our new heroes must work with The Resistance to help save the galaxy.

Last night, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra held the Australian premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Concert at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, Melbourne. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra over the past few years have performed legendary composer, John Williams’ classic scores live to picture including Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and more recently, Harry Potter. So, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Concert was announced, I leaped at the opportunity to see the most iconic score series to date.

Although I have been to film concerts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra before, I was not expecting The Force I felt from attending Star Wars. Approaching the Palais Theatre venue, there were two giant lightsabers that were my gateway into the Star Wars world with Stormtroopers guarding the entrance. When the doors opened, I entered the foyer to the sound of a live Cantina Band. Fellow fans were delighted when Stormtroopers marched around the foyer, and although they were with The First Order, they were more than happy to take selfies with everyone.

Prior to the performance, a session of The Art of the Score was held consisting of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Senior Manager of Special Projects, Andrew Pogson, film academic Dr. Dan Golding and MSO’s Conductor Nicholas Buc providing a discussion on The Force Awakens’ main themes and how film concerts are performed. I found the discussion quite interesting and was reminded on just how difficult the job of conducting really is.

The performance of The Force Awakens in Concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was an absolute delight. The atmosphere was electric with fans cheering on their favourite characters when they appeared on-screen, as well as providing a roaring applause for the orchestra. Hearing Rey’s Theme live in its many variations gave me goosebumps and despite having seen The Force Awakens in cinemas before, seeing the film accompanied live with a symphony orchestra felt like watching it for the first time. The music was performed incredibly well and kept me on the edge of my seat. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are fans of Star Wars themselves and have provided a fun and exciting immersive experience for both long-time and new generation Star Wars fans to enjoy, perfectly timed before Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released next week.

We all re-watch the previous film when a sequel is about to be released, and attending the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Concert is the best way to hype yourself up for the upcoming sequel. Not only will you be giving yourself an amazing Star Wars experience, but you will be supporting both film and live music. I really hope that in future, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra continue to make their film concert experiences as immersive and exciting as this one.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be performed at the at Palais Theatre from the 7th of December to the 10th. I strongly suggest getting tickets to this concert while you still can. The Force is indeed strong with the MSO.

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