Are you ready for a trip back to Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry? Dubai Opera’s got you covered. Seventeen years after the second instalment of the ‘Harry Potter’ series — based off JK Rowling’s books — made it to the big screen, it’s being revisited, real orchestra in tow, on March 1 and 2.
Ahead of Harry’s second adventure at the magical institute where he must contend with the heir of Slytherin because the Chamber of Secrets has been opened, Gulf News tabloid! spoke to Justin Freer, who will be conducting the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra in performing John Williams’ score. He calls it a “see-it-to-believe-it experience”.
“I love the art of storytelling, in all art forms. But particular through music in film. There is a unique musical opportunity to help guide the viewer through the emotional rollercoaster that any good movie is. When music and film are married well together we are given a magic result that is often difficult to explain why,” he adds.
Perhaps it has something to do with metamorphosis. Consider the other movie that will see a live performance this weekend — February 28 -by the same group: The Godfather in Concert. The Oscar-nominated soundtrack of the Marlon Brando starring movie was composed by Italian composer Nino Rota. It follows the transition of the youngest Corleone from innocent to terrifying mafia boss. The crescendo here is a gentle yet insistent companion on the journey of change.
As is ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, where Harry takes that one step closer to defeating his old foe, Voldermort; where rushed at by danger and death, we see him take a step closer to the hero is on his way to becoming.
Putting together a show that not only has a strong narrative but also a distinct musical note isn’t an easy process. “We strive to recreate best as possible the original intentions of the filmmaker and composer when we build these concerts,” explains Freer. “That means orchestrations, tempos, dialogue, sound effects, etc. It’s a rather complicated process putting these together, particularly the longer films with a great deal of music, which every film from the Harry Potter series gives us,” he adds.
And yet, he must admit, it’s an inimitable experience. “You can’t replicate this anywhere else, not a movie theatre, not your living room. Having 80 musicians on stage performing the entire music score synchronised to the film from beginning to end is incredibly unique, and being able to enjoy it with thousands of other like-minded people makes it a new shared social experience as well. It’s an immersive experience and one what I hope helps people to further understand just how important music is in film.”
This recipe for success is perfect for the city, “where art, music and culture are colliding in some big ways,” says the conductor.
Taking his cue from the subjects he is helping animate, Freer says he’s looking forward to a day of adventure “when these concerts conclude in Dubai”.
“I’ll be straight off to Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi for the day, I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie,” he says.
Just like the return to Hogwarts, we are sure the ride is going to be magical.
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to see ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ and ‘The Godfather’ in Concert at the Dubai Opera start at Dh175.