Relive Harry Potter magic with SSO concert

Symphonic Sorcery is narrated by a charming wizard (above) and his helper, with music from the Harry Potter films.
Symphonic Sorcery is narrated by a charming wizard (above) and his helper, with music from the Harry Potter films.PHOTO: SINGAPORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Symphonic Sorcery, featuring music from the first six Harry Potter films, is back in Singapore

With the eighth story in the Harry Potter saga hitting bookstores on Sunday, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's (SSO) September concert cannot be more timely.

On Sept 3 and 4, the SSO and Canadian performance company Dandi Productions will reunite for a second run of Symphonic Sorcery - The Music Of Harry Potter, a whirlwind tour of the music from the first six Harry Potter films.

Tickets for the hour-long show at the Victoria Concert Hall, which seats about 600, are going fast. The three shows originally scheduled are almost sold out and a fourth has been added to meet the fervent demand.

SSO associate conductor Jason Lai, who was at the helm of the concert when Symphonic Sorcery landed here for its first run in 2012, has been hard at work reimmersing himself in the films. He says: "I recently rewatched the whole series to refresh my memory and now feel ready for the concerts."

"It's timely that the concert is back as there's renewed interest in the franchise. A whole new generation will be able to enjoy the stories," adds the 42-year-old.

  • BOOK IT / SSO CONCERTS FOR CHILDREN: SYMPHONIC SORCERY - THE MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER

  • WHERE: Victoria Concert Hall, 9 Empress Place

    WHEN: Sept 3 and 4, 2 and 4 pm

    ADMISSION: $25 and $35 from Sistic, excluding booking fees (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555). Limited tickets available.

This year looks set to be Harry Potter's comeback year. Nine years after the release of the seventh - and supposedly final - book in J. K. Rowling's series, a play, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, is set to open in London's West End on Saturday, with a script book to follow.

And a new film, Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them, a Harry Potter spin-off, is bound for the silver screen in November.

The Symphonic Sorcery show held in Singapore in 2012 - a year after the release of the last Harry Potter film - was the first time it was performed outside of Canada.

SSO community outreach manager Kathleen Tan says: "We felt it was a good idea to bring back the nostalgia as well as to let the children experience the iconic soundtracks. Like The Godfather, Star Wars and Jaws, the Harry Potter soundtracks are instantly recognisable and extremely iconic."

The response in 2012 was overwhelming - all three shows held at the Esplanade Concert Hall were sold out in advance. The capacity for each show was about 800.

Since then, Dandi Productions has taken the show, which premiered in Canada in 2010, around the world to countries such as Australia and Malaysia.

Symphonic Sorcery is narrated by an old wizard, gray-haired and berobed, and his bumbling helper, and features music from the Harry Potter films written by awardwinning film composers John Williams and Nicholas Hooper.

Its creator, Dandi Productionsco-founder Doug McKeag, 57, says: "We are not providing any video ourselves, nor are there any images from the films. I hope the audience takes away a fresh appreciation for the intricacies and depth of these pieces of music.

"Writing music for film can sometimes be quite constrained, and I imagine many a soundtrack composer has agonised as his or her music is buried in action and sound effects. This concert serves up glorious music to be experienced all on its own."

Mr McKeag adds that he is excited to find teenagers and "even kids in their 20s" among the audience.

"This group really did grow up with these film scores.  They bought the CDs, they might own the movies and they've read the books," he says.

"They are one of the most educated audiences I've performed for.  Like Beethoven experts, they know this music inside and out.  And believe me, they go away from the concert very satisfied and thoroughly entertained."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2016, with the headline 'Harry Potter in concert'. Print Edition | Subscribe