Raiders of the Lost Ark, Gladiator, Independence Day, Amadeus, Jurassic Park, Aliens, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial – all films you may remember enjoying in cinemas on their release, and later on television / DVD. But these films are now part of a fantastic new ‘live’ film festival at the Royal Albert Hall.
It’s a film festival with a difference as each one will have its musical track (the score) performed by a live orchestra, right there, in front of you.
I’ve been to a few of these ‘films live’ concerts at the RAH and it’s a visceral and thrilling experience. In the last couple of years I’ve seen Titanic and the new Star Trek films given the live orchestra (and choir) treatment. Big screen, big orchestra, big venue – absolutely amazing, and hearing the orchestra unexpectedly (though, had I thought about it…) launch into the studio logo music for 20th Century Fox made everyone sit up at the start.
If you’ve not been to see a film live in concert (also known as ‘live to picture’ or ‘live to projection’) before then here are some answers to the sorts of questions I had before I went to my first one –
- Will I be able to hear the actors speaking if the audio track’s been removed?
Yes, only the music track will be replaced – all the voices (and I think the special effects) will be as you remember them from the film.
- Will I be able to hear the dialogue given an orchestra is playing too?
Yes, the timing of the musical cues on these things is incredible and you won’t miss anything that’s happening. Also all the films (except the Western Music in Cinema films clips concert) “will feature the full original dialogue, which will also be subtitled”. It’s quite nice to have subtitles as ‘back up’ because so much amazing stuff is happening in front of you (film on screen, massive venue, big orchestra) 🙂
- Is there an interval?
In all the ones I’ve been to there has been a 20 minute one. At a suitable point the screen gently goes black and the orchestra closes the piece of music and we have a jolly good clap. After the interval the orchestra starts up again and then images reappear on the screen. At the right time. And I sat there when this was happening thinking ‘how on earth did you manage that?!’ 🙂 It’s amazingly well done.
Given the queues for drinks (you can take drinks in with you in a plastic glass) and for the loos it’s probably best to book an interval drink in advance and pick a location to collect it from to speed things along nicely. My favourite place inside the RAH, other than the auditorium and the Elgar Room where they do lots of film composer interviews, is the Berry Bros. & Rudd No.3 Bar in the basement.
Here’s the list of feature film and film clips events (current at time of posting) that are accompanied by a live orchestra, at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington.
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark live
March 2016 (Wed 9th-Sat 12th – 7pm every night and 2.30pm on Sat too)
Western music in concert
March 2016 (Fri 11th – 7.30pm)
“Western movie and TV scores from the likes of John Barry, Elmer Bernstein, Dimitri Tiomkin and the legendary Ennio Morricone will be performed by the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, whilst original footage will be screened simultaneously on the big screen above.”
May 2016 (Wed 25th to Thur 26th – 7.30pm)
Independence Day Live (#ID4Live)
September 2016 (Thur 22nd – 7pm) – note that the composer David Arnold is giving a talk before the film screens (also see pictures below).
October 2016 (Fri 14th – 7pm)
Jurassic Park in Concert (#JurassicParkLive)
November 2016 (Thur 3rd to Sat 5th – 7.30pm every night (
also 2.30pm Sat [sold out])
November 2016 (Sun 6th – 3pm and 7.30pm)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in concert
December 2016 (Wed 28th – 2pm and 7pm)
Ticket prices start from ~£28 up to about £60/70 but if you want to splash out there are all sorts of exciting dining and quaffing packages available.
In the Instagram linked (pic embedded below) David Arnold is sitting upstairs at the organ, for the End Credits of Independence Day at his Dublin concert in January 2015.