Review by Sharon Letovsky
with Mary Lou Hulan
I always take a friend with me when I go to review a production. I like to get someone else’s perspective in addition to my own so I usually take someone who I believe can either relate well to the subject matter or who has some professional performance experience.
This time I had the good fortune to be accompanied by my friend and musical theatre colleague, Mary Lou Hulan, who recently starred (to standing ovations), as Anna in Suzart Theatre’s production of “The King and I”. Her email was so delicious that I am offering her words instead of mine in this review…
Thank you soooooo much for tonight! I thoroughly enjoyed it! Here’s a few thoughts before I go to bed… Just got back from the most AMAZING concert at the NAC-Lord of the Rings in Concert! It’s playing again Saturday, so if you’ve ever wanted to get someone excited about live orchestras, this is the show that will do it! I spent the day doing Mom things, so I had no idea what a treat I was in for when a friend offered me a ticket to go with her! It was a huge screen showing of the movie with the NAC orchestra LIVE, including a 150-person chorus [prepared brilliantly by Laurence Ewashko] and soloists!!! You’ve never experienced a movie like this! It added so much to the excitement and emotion of the movie, and really made me feel a part of what was happening!
My favourite moments: When the nine companions are on the mountain covered in snow and ‘Saruman’ causes the avalanche…instruments and voices furiously threatening the disaster. Then the conductors hand launches into the air, stopping the music, cueing the avalanche!! Amazing timing! When they are in the mines of Moria, escaping over the bridge and Gandalf battles the Balrog- the men’s chorus is chanting in a rough, rhythmic pattern that makes you feel as if you are the one being chased by monsters. Then Gandalf falls into the abyss, and the men’s voices become a lament that feels like tears sliding down your face…such an amazing contrast in just a few seconds. The soloists: – soprano Nancy Allen Lundy and a boy soprano Matthew Kronberg. I recommend watching carefully for their future performances, both possess amazing voices!
How the strings slip gently into your consciousness…oh yeah, look, the music is live, the strings are playing again, and the power of the brass section. The tubular bells – an un fortunate rarity -seeing & hearing them played.
I could go on and on. What a treat it was to get away from my day as a Mom, and enjoy a powerful movie with powerful music. Maybe you won’t watch the orchestra as much as I did, but the cheering and lengthy standing ovation makes me think it was well appreciated by all.
A final few words from Sharon – This review would not be complete without mentioning the conductor. Erik Ochsner has conducted Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: Live to Projection with the symphonies of St Louis, Finland and Taiwan and Lord of the rings Symphony in Iceland & New Mexico. He has conducted live-to projection performances of “Pirates of the Caribbean”; ‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’ in Indianapolis and he travels to Rochester in July. If you can take your eyes off the screen, or the soloists or the orchestra, or the chorus (including a children’s chorus), watch this man, he is brilliant!