Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert with the SSO

Film, Special screenings
4 out of 5 stars
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third Harry Potter film screens with its John Williams score played live

John Williams’ Oscar-nominated score for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the last he composed for the Harry Potter series, and, as conductor Nicholas Buc tells us from the conductor’s podium, it’s a very special one for musicians, because “John threw everything he had at it”.

The music ranges from classical waltzes, to psychedelic jazz and medieval chant, and in this event it is all performed live by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Azkaban is the third in the Harry Potter concert events programmed at the Sydney Opera House. As before, hundreds of fans gather (many in full costume) to experience their beloved franchise in a new way.

The film follows Harry and company in their third year at Hogwarts. This is the film where everything gets a bit darker – the story, the characters and, of course, the music.

The star of this event is the orchestra, which is fully visible at the front of the stage. This means you have an excellent view of the humble triangle, which while normally underappreciated, has a solid role in the score.

Also important is the Sydney Philharmonic Choir, which provides spooky vocals throughout the film, as well as some festive vibes (Buc dubbed them the “Frog Choir” after the memorable scene towards the start of the film involving a handful of massive toads.

But what really sets the event apart is the audience. Being among hundreds of people in their respective house scarves cheering for Alan Rickman’s Snape, booing and hissing Draco, and clapping maniacally at every opportunity makes this concert very different and very much fun.

Bill Blake is a 13-year-old critic, but a bit of a veteran, having reviewed live performance for Time Out since he was eight.

By: Bill Blake


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