Oct 13, 2009

Lord of the Rings Live

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it. It began with the forging of the Great Rings.

Well, it was certainly a night to remember. When I first heard Radio City Music Hall would be showing The Fellowship of the Ring with a live orchestra performing the score I just about fainted. When I realized my friends wedding landed on the same day as the tickets I bought for the Saturday show, I almost died. Luckily I was able to exchange them for Friday's show and all was right with the world again.

I decided against dressing up for the event (I know, I suck) but I was super pumped to see other people who did outside Radio City. In order to prevent a geek asthma/panic attack I had tried to forget I was going until last week but seeing folks dressed up got me excited immediately. I did however, proudly wear my Evenstar necklace.

From what I had previously read about the event, composer Howard Shore was supposed to do a pre-show talk but whether they did that before the 7:30 start time, didn't do it at all or only did it on Saturday I don't know because I didn't see him. Regardless, Radio City looked beautiful and the crowd was buzzing with anticipation. They clapped when the 21st Century Orchestra, directed by Maestro Ludwig Wicki, started tuning up. Joining them on stage were The Collegiate Chorale, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and soprano Kaitlyn Lusk.

The musicians were phenomenal. It was easy to just sit and watch them perform but just as easy to get lost in the film. There were several times I completely forgot about the orchestra. That's how perfect they were. The majority of the time the audience stayed quiet but we couldn't help but applaud here and there, especially when the percussion would really kick in or the vocalists would chant. Speaking of the vocalists, they were all extremely talented but the soloists really blew me away. The score always provokes an emotional response from me and they certainly didn't let me down.

To my surprise, both Elijah Wood and Billy Boyd walked out on stage after the credits had rolled. Neither of them spoke, they just waved and smiled for a few minutes, but it was a fun bonus. My only gripe with the performance as a whole was that the audio of the film, the sound effects and dialogue, are turned down. I'm assuming that's because they want to highlight the orchestra but it's so low at times they actually have closed captioning running at the bottom of the screen for the entirety of the film. What's even more annoying, from a fanboy perspective of course, is the captions didn't always match what the actors were saying. There weren't any big changes really but I couldn't see why it wouldn't be exact. Needless to say, for someone who's seen these movies countless times and has most of the dialogue memorized, it was a bother.

I am so glad I was able to Lord of the Rings in Concert. Obviously I can watch the films whenever I want but it was a special treat to see it this way. My date for the show had never seen Lord of the Rings before and I was interested to see what he thought of it. He said he liked it but that it, "needed more Sauron." Heh.

At the end of the film the screen told the audience Radio City already has dates set for The Lord of the Rings in Concert next year. October 8th & 9th, 2010 you can catch the next installment, The Two Towers. Although, I overheard one orchestra member on the way out saying that was news to him and they better ask them quick if they want them to perform again. You can sign up for pre-sale info at the official site. You know I already did. :)

6 comments:

dogimo said...

See, this strikes me as a much better use of a symphony orchestra than to accompany Aerosmith, for instance.

Eric Lindberg said...

Majorly jealous. That is awesome.

As far as the subtitles not matching the dialogue, I've noticed that in subtitled films and TV shows, they sometimes paraphrase dialogue so it can fit on the screen easier or be read more quickly. After all, you don't want your audience staring at just the words and missing the actual film.

Rich said...

Very jealous of you for going to this! But your date hadn't seen Lord of the Rings?

I hope you've now corrected that with the second two films!

d0nnatr0y said...

Thanks so much for posting a review of this! I had several students in the Brooklyn Children's Choir and was so mad at myself when I realized I had dropped the ball on getting tickets! I'm glad to hear it went well, subtitles & audio aside. I can't imagine how great it must have been to see the film in Radio City much less with live musicians and I'm super excited that they have an encore planned for next year along with The Two Towers! I definitely have to get my tickets now! :)

Eric Wormann said...

So that's why you weren't at the house with everyone on Friday night. You nerd.

The Nerdy Bird said...

Rich, I know! I'm working on correcting that. :)