Thursday, July 4, 2019

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - Seattle Symphony - Benaroya Hall 6/27/19

Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back
Live In Concert

Benaroya Hall
Seattle, WA


I was really happy to see that the Seattle Symphony was going to continue with their live series of performing iconic scores with feature films. "The Empire Strikes Back" was the third such event that I've reviewed for Eclectic Arts and it did not disappoint.

Conductor Lawrence Loh returned to conduct the Seattle Symphony as they played the iconic John Williams score to the film. Hopefully he will return next year to finish the trilogy with, "Return Of The Jedi".

Once again - the 20th Century Fox Fanfare was performed live - setting the audience up for the opening Star Wars theme. I said it last year and I'll say it again - these events are so worth attending! Hearing the score to a fan favorite film performed live as you watch the film is just a pleasure. It really is.

The audience was made up of many fans that would not normally attend a Seattle Symphony performance. Star Wars fans of course, many families, young children, etc. These events are geared for the mainstream as an introduction to the Seattle Symphony as well as Benaroya Hall.

Many of you reading this already know the film, know what plot points happen, and definitely know the score. It would have been a nice touch if they could have added a memorial piece to those that have passed (especially Peter Mayhew since he just recently passed) but that's a minor quibble.

What's not so minor is the blending of mainstream newbies to a Seattle Symphony performance and normal etiquette at a Seattle Symphony performance. I think the rule of thumb should be silence. Your goal when attending any Seattle Symphony performance, pops or not, is to be quiet so the audience can hear and appreciate the musical performance. The rub comes from the families in attendance. Many were quiet and respectful. Some were not, however. And it's the small things - like the crinkly sound of plastic bags of snacks being eaten (that you're not supposed to even have inside the auditorium). I think gentle reminders at the beginning of the performance; at the end of the intermission before act two starts, and possibly even during the performance (ushers walk the aisles to look for these issues) would help tremendously. I had one mother and child across the aisle from me that were making plenty of "plastic" noise. Distracting other patrons in front of them and to the side. It didn't bother me so much but it definitely bothered others. I don't blame them necessarily either as they probably thought they were going to see a movie like you would in a theater. I get that. So, they just need to be educated beforehand next time. That's all I'm saying.

As I said earlier, it is always so worth it to see one of these performances. You will not be disappointed. May the force be with you!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
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