Banner Photo via The List
Do you ever have such high hopes for something but are disappointed when you finally reach that something? Well, I can’t relate, because Thursday’s show at Benoroya Hall was nothing short of awesomeness. This was the first time I had been to Benoroya Hall, and it exceeded my expectations. The atrium was bustling, with show goers filing in to claim their seats and families hurrying to pick up a last-minute meal at one of Benoroya Hall’s dining options.
Crystal Cascade by Dale Chihuly
I first noticed big, shiny decorations of the atrium. Several Chihuly blown glass sculptures ornamented the stairways at Benoroya Hall, brightening up the mood after coming in from the gloomy, dark Seattle skies outside. Walking through the atrium, I felt nostalgic—not only was I going to watch a live performance of Harry Potter, I also remembered the days that I would go to the symphony with my Mom. One of my most vivid memories was the time we grabbed an eel avocado hand roll beforehand. I was starving, and we had been on the bus for about half an hour (or what felt like the whole day to young Jordan). I was starving, and on the walk to Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, my mom bought me the warm, creamy, and crunchy hand roll. Afterwards, on the way back, we stopped all along the luxury car dealerships on Van Ness, sitting in Land Rovers, and peering inside the window of Lamborghinis.
About ten years later, I am gracing the steps of Benaroya Hall with my girlfriend. A cold night foreshadows Harry’s second year at Hogwarts. As I entered, many Hogwarts students were sprinkled among the crowd, some Hufflepuff, some Gryffindor—I guess Ravenclaw and Slytherin didn’t get the memo. The crowd consisted of families with children discovering magic, college students who were (not) too old for Harry Potter, and everybody in between. There was a collective sense of anticipation within the audience. Children were excited to see Harry Potter for the first time, and the college students were excited to reignite the child within.
As the lights dimmed, the balloon of anticipation inside me grew even more. The orchestra warmed up (which reminded me of the dynamic sound my PS3 startup menu could not deliver) and when the xylophone started in Misterioso and the clouds parted, that balloon was let go, until it finally popped hit the ceiling and popped when the title sequence appeared.
The score was magical. I was sitting orchestra left, as close as I had ever been at the symphony. It was incredible. I could hear every string being bowed, every valve pressed, and every strike of the mallet. It was amazing, but also difficult at first to simultaneously focus on the score and the visuals on the screen. At first, I was mesmerized by the instruments playing in unison, along with the motion picture. I could see the conductor, Justin Freer, perfectly, and on his screen was the movie playing, with yellow, red, and green bars that would navigate horizontally across the screen when the symphony was to start and stop playing. Once the movie’s dialogue started, my focus was turned to the movie. The most amazing part was how engaged I was in the movie, completely forgetting where I was. The score played in the background, but I had to catch myself, because all throughout the screening I would forget that the score was being performed right in front of me.
After two and a half hours, a dead basilisk, and a freed elf, the show was over. Harry’s second year was full of secrets, deceit, and paranoia. John Williams’ score leapt off the screen, the pages of the book, and into real life by the Seattle Symphony. The nostalgia it created within me was soothing, and the piece of art I found comfort in, instead of challenged by. Of course art should challenge and provoke thought, but sitting back and admiring greatness in something familiar is always soothing.
To keep up with future events at the Seattle Symphony, check out the concert page of their website here.
JORDAN CHAN | Amateur Classical Historian | KXSU Arts Reporter