Last month the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) brought Hogwarts to WA. Perth’s Riverside Theatre transformed into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, and brought the score of the fourth installment, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to life.
Since 2016, WASO has been performing a Harry Potter film every year, beginning with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This year concert goers were lucky enough to experience the Quidditch World Cup, the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and a newly resurrected Voldemort. The score, which was played in conjunction with the movie, kept every wizard and witch on the edge of their seat.
Composed by Patrick Doyle and conducted by Nicholas Buc, the orchestra had the audience hanging on to every single note change, trumpet fanfare and flute melody. Buc had a hard task in performing this notably dark and chilling soundtrack. Being the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series, the music in this film took an eerie turn from its previous tones of charming string instruments. No longer was the plot and music reminiscent of a boarding school adventure: Harry was fighting Voldemort now, and the score made sure to reflect that.
Although this was the first score in the series not to be composed by the famed John Williams, Doyle managed to keep the loved leitmotifs of the previous films, whilst still weaving in his own creative style. Doyle’s work on this soundtrack even made it to the 80th position on the Billboard 200 in December 2005.
The score was played in such deep correlation with the movie that I became enthralled, almost forgetting that the orchestra was there. Every hit on the bass drum, pluck of a cello, and strum of a harp, was perfectly in tune with the events of the movie. But this was not your typical orchestral performance. Audiences were encouraged to cheer and hiss—like a Basilisk—when characters appeared on-screen that they loved, or loved to hate. Even some of the musicians, along with Buc himself, couldn’t help but laugh during the pivotal comedic moments of the film.
During the intermission, members of the audience snapped pictures with Voldemort and his death eaters, as well as their favourite Hogwarts professor. Of course, it wouldn’t be a concert without the option to buy some (pricey) Hogwarts memorabilia. If you are a big Harry Potter fan, this experience is worth the money.
With tickets ranging from $51 to just under $115, you might not think it worthwhile to spend your moola on a Harry Potter concert. However, I can guarantee that concert-goers aren’t forking out for extra theatrics, tacky lights or an over-extravagant show. Instead they are paying for the time and skill-set of the orchestra themselves. WASO is a non-for-profit organisation advocating classical music, and gives both Australian and international composers a chance to perform their music. Individuals can rest easy knowing that a portion of their money is going straight to the musicians, the conductor and the technical team.
Any performance by WASO would be a notable event. But even muggles won’t be able to miss WASO performing Harry Potter. The team will be back next year to bring you the fifth score in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Make sure to get in before the death eaters do.
The West Australian Symphony Orchestra will return at the end of May next year. For info and tickets visit their website.