Concert review: OKC Philharmonic adds extra excitement to Indiana Jones' adventures with 'Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert'
If there's one thing I've learned in my years covering the arts and entertainment beat, it's that most experiences — from funerals and family reunions to happy hours and theatrical productions — can be instantly improved with the addition of live music.
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic provided exciting proof for my theorem with the latest installment of its Pops series, “Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert."
The orchestra performed John Williams' iconic Academy Award-nominated score live along with a big-screen, high-definition projection of Steven Spielberg’s celebrated 1981 film to sold-out crowds Jan. 24-25 at the Civic Center.
Inspired by 1930s and '40s movie serials, the globe-trotting, Nazi-fighting adventures of archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) seemed extra exotic, exhilarating and romantic with the orchestra playing along at the Jan. 25 performance.
The sound effects on the shootouts, car crashes and fistfights were muffled to keep them from conflicting with the orchestra, but the beloved film was otherwise presented in its full, rip-roaring glory, with an intermission added to break up the action.
The OKC Philharmonic musicians played their role well, performing with such skill and verve that they had no problem competing with Indiana Jones' cinematic exploits, rather enhancing them with the power of live performance. It was so easy to get caught up in watching them bring the familiar music to life that I was glad I had seen the movie dozens of times and was in no danger of getting lost on Indy's world travels.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert" drew an eclectic audience to the Civic Center, including young couples, graybeards and families with children and teenagers.
My husband and I took our three younger children at the behest of our 13-year-old son, Gabe, who thought the concept of watching a movie he enjoys with the philharmonic playing along sounded like fun. When your teenager wants to go and see an orchestral concert — with his parents and two younger sisters, no less — that's the kind of request you just don't refuse.
The ability to tap into new, diverse audiences is a big component of the growing popularity of orchestras performing cinematic scores live to picture. “Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert" marked the second partnership between the OKC Philharmonic and Film Concerts Live!, which in the past seven years has developed a burgeoning roster of films for presentation with orchestras performing the scores live to picture. The Oklahoma City orchestra played along last year to another Williams-Spielberg collaboration, the 1982 sci-fi adventure “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial."
Film fans will have another opportunity to get live next year with the OKC Philharmonic. Marketing Director Susan Webb says that the orchestra is planning a third movie-and-music concert for its 2020-2021 season, which will be announced later this month.
— Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman