Do you ever watch a movie and feel so immersed in the world that is being built around you, that you almost forget that it’s not real? When the screen is so bright and crisp, and the music so clear and loud, that you feel as though you’re actually there? Up until the end credits rolled, that’s how I felt while watching La La Land at the Seattle Symphony.
I honestly can’t imagine a better way to have spent Galentine’s Day than going to the Symphony. As my roommate and I entered the beautiful entrance of Benaroya Hall, which was decorated with several Chihuly sculptures, I knew we were about to have a magical evening. After a small issue with our tickets was resolved at the ticketing desk, we were ready for the night to begin.
As someone who had never been to the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, or any type of professional orchestra event, I wasn’t sure what to expect when entering. The moment we stepped in, we were shocked at how large the hall was, with three different seating balconies and floor seating, I don’t think I had ever been in a room so large.
We found our way to our seats, which were Orchestra Middle Left, giving us an amazing view of the screen for the film and of the performers themselves. Anticipation began to build as the musicians tuned their instruments and more and more concert goers began to trickle into the hall. Even the couple sitting directly behind me who loudly discussed their thoughts on the ending of the film, spoiling it for me (whoever sat in Row Z Seats 3 & 4, wow… rude), couldn’t put a damper on the experience.
Finally, the lights began to dim, and the conductor walked onto stage. Erik Ochsner is the Principal Touring Conductor of La La Land and this is his 10th film concert project. He introduced the orchestra to the crowd and told us that he had worked with the film’s original composer, Justin Hurwitz, to create this show and in keeping with the significant role that jazz music has in the film, we would even be hearing live improvised jazz during some scenes, meaning each show gives the audience a unique experience that will never be repeated.
The anticipation was palpable, it was such a special feeling to be in a room full of people who loved this film so much and wanted to share it with someone special on Valentine’s Day. There were such wonderful warm, positive vibes—I loved every second of it. And then, the show began. The music was beautiful, every song sounded better than the last and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be able to see such accomplished musicians play right in front of me. I won’t make this a review of the film La La Land, as I’m sure most of you have seen it, but if you somehow haven’t seen it already, please go give it a watch. It’s a beautifully shot movie that features a relationship arch I had never seen on screen before—and it’s currently on HBO!
Overall, I had a wonderful evening at the Seattle Symphony and can’t wait to go again. I would really recommend seeing any of the shows where the orchestra accompanies a film while it plays, it was such an immersive experience unlike any movie watching experience I had ever had before. With such diverse programing throughout the year there’s sure to be a show for everyone, you don’t have to only love classical music to have a great time!
If you’re interested if going to the Seattle Symphony, make sure to check out their show calendar here to find out what shows are coming up next!
CIARA LOUGHNANE | My roommate and I are already planning a La La Land themed party bc we loved the movie so much | KXSU Digital Media Director