05 September, 2009

Star Trek and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Life has been a bit ordinary lately. One of my best friends has moved to New Zealand, the workplace is full of adult women who have regressed to the age of 14, I broke a dish which belonged to my late grandmother and I'm another year older. So it was with much excitement that I headed to the Sydney Opera House for a performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on Friday night.

I was trawling the internet on Thursday night when I remembered reading somewhere that the SSO were doing a performance of highlights from the Star Trek motion picture soundtracks. Google led me to the Opera House website where I discovered that the performance was the following evening. Surely it would be sold out? No. Just four tickets left. I hastily ordered myself a ticket - row A in the circle, almost smack bang in the middle. With booking fee the total cost was just over $106.00. I calculated it as just over 5 taxi rides home from work. Sold.

I was slightly apprehensive about going out on my own to such a fine venue on a Friday night, all Billy No Mates, until a friend pointed out that I would hardly be the only single attendee for a Star Trek event. Hrumph.

Anyway. I went. And it was Bloody Brilliant. Absolutely Bloody Brilliant.

The SSO were accompanied on stage by conductor Guy Noble. He kept us all entertained with his witty asides and by reading from his 'Captains Log'. I wasn't expecting him to be so communicative but I think he enjoyed the experience as much as the audience did.

A large screen was set up behind the orchestra and scenes from the various movies were shown with each piece of music.

The first half was non Trek stuff but still had a space theme. We started off with Sprach Zarathustra, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey along with The Blue Danube from the same film. Next up was Holst's Mars from The Planets. I've always had a soft spot for Holst thanks to my old headmaster,Mr Windridge. He used to play classical music as we filed into assembly at primary school and make us think about what we were listening to. It was an awe inspiring experience listening to the same music over 30 years later on the other side of the planet. The main difference of course was the lack of record player and presence of a symphony orchestra.

Things really ramped up after the interval. Guy Noble reappeared in a classic Trek captains shirt, much to the delight of the audience. Clips from all eleven films appeared on the screen as the music filled the concert hall. There was a slight glitch when the wrong clip was shown for the wrong piece of music - just what it with the one with the whales anyway? - but it didn't detract from the sheer brilliance of the evening. The final piece came from the most recent Star Trek movie and the accompanying footage made me want to rush straight out and buy the DVD. I couldn't do that, of course. The shops were shut and it's not even out on DVD yet. But that's just detail.

I didn't fully appreciate the genius of Jerry Goldsmith until last night. Hearing the theme tune from the original movie - subsequently used as the theme for TNG - played by a full orchestra was a moment I will savour for a long time.

The seat next to me remained empty the entire night despite having been sold. Whoever had that ticket missed out on a truly magical night. As I walked out of the Opera House I looked up at the night sky and saw the full moon in all its glory. A perfect end to a wonderful night.


Foodycat said...

"a friend pointed out that I would hardly be the only single attendee for a Star Trek event" - how very dare! It sounds brilliant! I am glad you had a nice time.

HH said...

Sounds great SSS!! Pleased you had a fun night, I do like the sound of the conductor!!

NiC said...

Wow, sounds wonderful. Nicely told, I almost feel like I was there.