Review: The magical music of Harry Potter

Review: The magical music of Harry Potter

The Magical Music of Harry Potter – Tyne Theatre and Opera House

22nd April 2024

I have been given an absolute treat this evening as I attended this truly magical concert celebrating all the composers involved with bringing the Harry Potter books to the silver screen. Even from the moment the orchestra were tuning up, the audience could sense they were in for something very special indeed in the glorious surroundings of the historic Tyne Theatre and Opera House – and not a man, child or muggle was left disappointed with this thoroughly absorbing programme of soundtrack heaven with some imagination, imagery and illusions thrown into the mix. 

Over the eight movies of the Harry Potter franchise covering the seven books written by J K Rowling no fewer than four composers were responsible for the soundtracks to the films but, arguably the most famous of them all, wrote the music for the first three – the wonderful and prolific film composer. John Williams and it is very appropriate that the whole night is dedicated to his immense talent which surely guided the pens of the other composers who followed him. The concert opens with the two most famous themes from the films – Hedwig’s Theme and Harry’s Wondrous World which are instantly recognisable and have the audience of Potterheads settling in for what is to come. 

Following this rousing opening we are introduced to our compere for the evening, Mr Chris Rankin, best known for playing the role of Gryffindor Head Boy, Percy Weasley and in his words ‘The seventh Favourite Weasley’ in the franchise. This self-deprecation was warmly received by the audience and belied a thoroughly professional and thought-provoking performance performance from Rankin which was as informative as it was entertaining. Rankin regaled us with his knowledge of the movies with anecdotes from the filming, an insight into movie making practices, stories from the set and he had some surprises of his own. 

The large orchestra was outstanding and I must take my wizard’s hat off to the brass and woodwind sections who had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention on several occasions this evening. Add to that a choir of beautiful voices who were allowed to come into their own and really fill their lungs and belt out a dramatic conclusion at the end of act one.

The programme is carefully worked out and offers a wonderfully comprehensive taste of all the movies without necessarily getting bogged down by a linear journey from The Philosopher’s Stone through to the end of The Deathly Hallows however there is a natural progression that providesthis too. 

To bring this production to the stage is no mean feat technically with the large orchestra, choir and three large screens to be carefully balanced and there are some wonderful touches within the visual elements of the show which hint at,but rather cleverly do not use any footage from the Warner Bros films, presumably for copyright reasons. This does not distract, jar, or take away from what is a very well balanced and intelligent programme of music, magic, and some superb performances from everyone. 

I had the pleasure of meeting the whole cast during this afternoon which made the experience all the more magical,and I am told that they only have one more performance left of this particular tour but the audience were assured by the adorable Chris Rankin that they will be back and I cannot wait to enjoy another wonderful evening in their company. 

– Stephen Stokoe

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