On Oct. 14, the same day that Robbie Coltrane, the actor that played the beloved character Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise passed away, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) performed a tribute to the franchise. RPO accompanied the showing of the fifth movie in the franchise, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” with Nicholas Hooper’s beloved score. The movie was projected onto a big screen behind the entire orchestra, with the performance debuting as part of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Pops Season in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The concert hall was abuzz with old and new fans alike, from college students to elderly couples and giddy young children dressed up in Gryffindor robes, ready to enjoy one of their favorite series. 

Sophomore Ellis Siepel, a self-proclaimed long term Potterhead and RPO fanatic, was excited by the concert. “It was my first time ever seeing a live orchestra play through a movie soundtrack, and it was an incredible experience,” they said. “It felt like the perfect way to experience the Harry Potter soundtrack and really get to focus on the music while still enjoying the same movie I know and love.” They were fully decked out in Potter merchandise, including an impressive assortment of buttons and pins. 

Everyone was present to enjoy a classic franchise with this new twist of a live orchestra performance. I’ve watched concerts to the movie “Psycho” in Kodak Hall at Eastman and “The Last Laugh” in the Dryden Theater at the Eastman Museum, all set to the musician’s composition, and it has added a new meaning to the films each time. As with RPO’s performance to “Psycho” last year, the orchestra outdid themselves yet again. It is an unforgettable experience to watch a live performance to a movie you’ve already watched. The direction of the score adds a different layer to the movie and can give viewers an entirely different interpretation of the original message.  It’s something I would highly recommend that everyone experience if ever given the opportunity, and thankfully, Rochester’s arts and theater scene has been making it more widely available.

You can catch the next installation in the RPO’s Pops series on Nov. 11 and 12 as they host Troupe Vertigo to the music of Jeff Tyzik.


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