Friday, July 23, 2004

Why do the white gulls call

A friend had an extra ticket, so I ended up seeing this tonight, more or less by accident. The orchestra was magnificent, the score transcendent, and the singers almost uniformly excellent (especially the solo female vocalist, one Hayley Westenra) - the major exception being the young choral soloist at the end of the second movement of The Fellowship's score, who was warbling so awfully on- and off-key that the conductor actually had to direct an emergency crescendo for the orchestra to cover it up. It was a minimalist presentation, to be sure, but it worked; spotlights with coloured gels effectively set the scene for each segment, aided by gobos of foliage patterns for the Lórien segments and flames for "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm." There was also a rather silly slideshow component on an overhead screen, slowly panning over concept art à la innumerable lazy documentarians. It didn't quite work. A bit bigger of a screen, maybe, or more dynamic images, perhaps; it just needed something. (Maybe even the staging of the story as a full-scale play, for that matter.) I'll admit, I'm not a huge fan of the series - films or books. That makes me a heretic in the geek world, I know, but I've just never been able to get into them that much. I can appreciate an excellent score when I hear it, though. (And I still say "Into the West" sounds, in places, remarkably like "Endless Night.)

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