REVIEW: Star Wars: A New Hope In Concert (Queensland Symphony Orchestra)



Queensland Symphony Orchestra delivered another thrilling movie experience on Saturday July 7 with two performances of Star Wars: A New Hope In Concert at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
We attended the 7.30pm performance and it was glorious – QSO did a stellar job of performing John Williams’ iconic score, capably led by acclaimed Australian conductor Benjamin Northey, and the audience applauded throughout. Northey, Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, was an energetic and charismatic conductor who engaged with the audience and even threw in a few Star Wars puns before the performance began.
It has been a few years since I last watched A New Hope, the fourth film in the series but the first to be released, which launched the powerhouse franchise that Star Wars is today. I had the same nostalgic experience with QSO’s Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets In Concert last year – so many small moments I had forgotten, rediscovered and enjoyed in such a heightened way through this uniquely moving experience with the live music. The word ‘epic’ is tossed carelessly around, but I cannot think of a more fitting word for hearing and physically feeling that familiar and enduring score hum through the auditorium as the dramatic, emotional, and suspenseful events unfolded onscreen.
I was surprised and disappointed that QSO didn’t perform the iconic cantina music – one of the most recognisable pieces of music in the Star Wars universe, after the main theme and the Imperial march. I’d be interested to know why this was omitted from the live performance, and the movie soundtrack continued to play instead.
Williams’ use of leitmotifs in the score were so much more apparent with the live performance of the music – I’d never fully appreciated it before, when it was softer background music in the film itself. I was also interested to see the strings musicians tapping their bows against their instrument bodies in a type of percussion I have either never seen or never noticed before. The film credits were the most exciting they have ever been (Marvel movies included) as the grand, final rendition of the main theme rang out through the auditorium, finishing to rapturous applause.
Overall, the excited atmosphere (including some really fantastic cosplayers in the foyer!) coupled with a hefty dose of nostalgia for many/most of us, made it a wonderful night out for fans of Star Wars or orchestral music or both.
The saga will continue on December 1, when QSO performs Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. Tickets are already available to book on QSO’s website.

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