REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets In Concert (Queensland Symphony Orchestra)

Where?
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
When?
Saturday October 7, 1.30pm & 7.30pm

I’m a Harry Potter kid from way back (see proof below) - the books and films were an enormous part of my childhood. I waited outside the Target - our town didn’t have a bookstore back then - for the Order of the Phoenix to be released and got in trouble that day at school because I wouldn’t put it down. 
Aged six or seven, holding part of my collection of Harry-Potter-themed towels, clothing, plushies, notebooks, Lego...

The event opened with a short documentary-style video about the creation of John Williams now-iconic score. Those first few strains of Hedwig’s Theme always give me goosebumps, invoking all the magical excitement of being a kid and seeing the movies at the cinema.

Onscreen, John Williams explained that the theme was actually written after he received a call from Warner Brothers, requesting a short piece of music to accompany a promo for the Philosopher’s Stone, even though Williams had not seen a single frame of the film yet. “John Williams creates moments you’ll remember forever,” as director Chris Columbus aptly put it.

Williams also discussed the way that he normally scores a film; without reading the script, just looking at the images and asking himself “what should this movie sound like?”.

Still images from Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsHARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. J.K. ROWLING`S WIZARDING WORLD™ J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s17)

It was quite an unparalleled experience to watch a film I’d loved so much, accompanied by the dramatic swelling of live music as the suspense and drama unfolded onscreen. Conductor Nicholas Buc welcomed “ladies and gentlemen, wizards and Muggles” to the performance, and encouraged “significant displays of House pride”. The Queensland Symphony Orchestra were, as always, spectacular.

The film is subtitled, which is helpful as the music occasionally rises over the dialogue (although this adds to the experience, if anything). The performance is three hours in total, including a twenty-minute interval to refill your popcorn stash.

It’s been a good few years since I’ve seen the film, and that only served to make it more magical when everything came rushing back – the Cornish Pixies wreaking havoc; Ron’s Howler in the Great Hall; the slug-eating incident; the first of many trips to Dumbledore’s office; and the Duelling Club (although I often acted out the Potter-Malfoy duel on our backyard trampoline, including imitation Parseltongue, with any friends that would indulge me).

The next Harry Potter: In Concert event will be The Prisoner of Azkaban (my personal favourite) on May 19, 2018. Tickets are already available and range in price from $49 (D-reserve, sight-restricted) to $109 (Platinum). Family ticket packages are also available. Don’t forget your wand!