Fans of Harry Potter can once again delve into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World and relive the magical movies once again, as Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone in Concert heads to Barclaycard Arena.
One of the highest-grossing novel and film series of all time, Harry Potter continues to delight millions of fans across the world, and next month they will have the chance to watch the first film in high-definition on a giant screen whilst listening to a full live orchestra perform John Williams’ unforgettable score.
Ahead of the magical evening at Barclaycard Arena on May 15, I caught up with founder and president of CineConcerts, Justin Freer – the company that tours classic movies and screens them alongside a stunning live orchestra – to talk all about the success of the Harry Potter tour and what to expect from the show.
“Harry Potter is one of the greatest pieces of literature, film and of course, film music,” Justin says. A big fan of both the books and the movies, he tells me that bringing the movies back to the big screen alongside a live orchestra has always been a project that CineConcecrts have wanted to bring to life.
“It’s a real piece of culture and our society worldwide has come to respect and adore this art that J.K. Rowling created 20 years ago,” he continues. “We’ve come to really admire the Wizarding World and every day we get to wake up and work on this incredible project with Warner Brothers and our colleagues around the world who are part of different orchestras in different cities, it’s a fantastic experience.”
The tour has already proven to be a great success in the US, and I ask Justin how the reception has been from the audience so far. “The reaction is overwhelmingly positive,” he beams. “It’s so fun to hear the audience in a new way – we all know the movies, we all know the books but we don’t know the films and the music scores in this way.
“We’ve brought [it] into an environment with thousands of people and there aren’t any places in the world where you can share this communal experience. It changes the way people react to the films; you’d be surprised how people laugh one way when they’re watching it at home compared to when they’re watching it alongside 1,800 people around them laughing at the same thing. Now people finally have the chance to relive Harry’s continuous adventure with his friends at Hogwarts and all of the characters and the music that comes along with it.”
It’s very a very rewarding experience collaborating with some of the great musicians around to world.
And whilst the experience of touring the show in the US has been incredible for Justin, he tells me he’s extremely looking forward to bringing the show to its home roots. “It comes with a great deal of humility that we’re finally coming back to the home of Harry, and I think that being able to share this with people in the UK will be not only very authentic but also very memorable. We have an opportunity to celebrate these things that people really admire in the UK is very exciting and I hope people enjoy it as much as I do.”
But, of course, one of the most magical things to come from this tour is the spectacular live orchestra, who have the pleasure of performing John Williams’ unforgettable score. “It’s very a very rewarding experience collaborating with some of the great musicians around to world, and to do it as part of Harry Potter makes it even more special because I feel via this franchise world; this entertainment world; this magic world; this mystery world; this adventure world that J.K. Rowling has created we have an opportunity to come together, regardless of what country and city it is and I think that’s a very unique thing,” Justin explains.
“One of the most exciting things for me is that I get to relive this over and over so it almost feels like we’re starting again and getting the opportunity to collaborate with a different orchestra each time makes things very refreshing,” he continues. “Every time that we go to a new hall and play with a new orchestra it allows us to relive the magic.”
So, what can we look forward to from this new Harry Potter experience? “I find it really difficult to pick my favourite scene,” Justin says. “The fan favourite is the Quidditch match, it’s a real tour de force for the orchestra, it’s a very challenging piece of music.
It’s amazing that we can use Harry Potter as a vehicle to share this beautiful art form with people around the world.
“There are some very beautiful and intimate moments; one of my favourites is the gorgeous piece of music that John Williams composed when Harry’s staring at his parents, looking at them through the Mirror of Erised – what a gorgeous moment that is both physiologically, emotionally.
“It’s things like that that just suck you into the films because of the brilliance of John Williams and Christopher Columbus who in no small part did an amazing job directing this film, and I think that its a very tall order making that movie after the wild success of the book because with that comes great expectation.”
The beautiful thing about CineConcerts bringing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone back to life is that this once again is just the beginning. “We’re bringing all eight Harry Potter films in concert form to the world,” Justin says. “The second, third and fourth films will be shortly following after we’ve finished worked on the Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve got a few more projects that we’re working on that we haven’t yet announced that we’re really excited about. Right now we’re very happy to be a part of this genre whilst it’s blossoming and evolving very quicky, it’s amazing that we can use Harry Potter as a vehicle to share this beautiful art form with people around the world.”
“The second, third and fourth films will be shortly following after we’ve finished worked on the Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve got a few more projects that we’re working on that we haven’t yet announced that we’re really excited about. Right now we’re very happy to be a part of this genre whilst it’s blossoming and evolving very quicky, it’s amazing that we can use Harry Potter as a vehicle to share this beautiful art form with people around the world.”
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