Saturday, June 27, 2009

Roman Holiday

Thanks so much to Roberto Di Benedetto for sending in this thoughtful review!


Last night I was in Rome: guys, what can I say? it was a two hours experience with my body and soul thrilling all the time! Two hours of shivering. Ok so I arrive in this wonderful place in Rome, Auditorium della Musica, and this place itself is outstanding! The Maestro met us all in one room "La Serra" talking about his work, his experience and his relationship with Middle-earth, all things that we know very well. He also answered some questions from the audience and gave us some "forecasts" about The Hobbit saying that obviously the soundtrack for the new movies will be strongly connected to the LOTR ones. We all said we are dying to listen to it. Also he mentioned how eager he was to come in Rome and direct such an old orchestra and chorals and to play in the Renzo Piano auditorium and that made me proud to be Italian :D

Yes, the venue is fantastic have a look:

It is one of the best places on earth where to listen to live music, everything is in wood with special wood pillows on the ceiling which give the best sound as possible.

Anyway the orchestra was huge -- 96 members, huge chorus and huge children's chorus. When the Maestro entered everybody cheered up and he was very happy. So the music started with the first notes of the Prologue and my heart was beating so fast I believed a stroke was coming :D

I really could feel the music and the vibes going through my body and I was so overwhelmed because that was the music I dreamed about for so many years. Then the Shire and then the shortcut to mushrooms and then Weathertop and black rider, Rivendell and so on.. wow! Strong men voices and the bright women ones with drums, strings and trumpets!!!

End of part one the audience exploded, loooong applause and a standing ovation! I thought: ok so what are we going to do at the end of the show? Bring the theater down??

Second part started with the wonderful notes of the beginning of The Two Towers, the scene through the snowy mountain tops. That is one of my favorite parts and sadly I was disappointed because they skipped the fighting Gandalf/Balrog… anyway I was soon satisfied with all the Gollum, Rohan, Evenstar, Ent march, Isengard unleashed, the Ring theme, the return of Gandalf, Shadowfax, forth Eorlingans!… The Return of the King section was definitely the most pompous and stately with the Lighting of the Beacons, Gondor siege, Mount Doom and I was dying to listen to the destruction of the Ring with the contrast of the huge orchestra and chorus unleashed and then suddenly the voice of the soprano Ann De Renais! AMAZING! My body was so tense I felt like Sam! Reeeaaaachhh! And then the Eagles that was the best moment of the two hours. That piece of music is for me real poetry: sadness but also “glad to be with you”, death but also life, despair but also hope. I have to say that the soprano knew the words perfectly, she must have studied a bit of Elvish.

She also sang “Gollum’s song” and “Into the West” and she was fantastic even though the voices of Emiliana Torrini and Annie are untouchable, the soprano gives to the song a different cut, you know this better than me.

Ok so lights up and 15 minutes applause and standing ovation. Howard Shore was so moved, he gave us so much energy and now he was taking back some from ours. So polite to highlight the other artists on stage from the soprano to the first violinist, the chorus conductor, the little girl that sang some parts of Ben Del Maestro.

After the concert there has been the chance to meet the Maestro and get an autograph on the CDs. I brought my three booklets of the Complete recordings. Staff said he would have signed only one CD per person and I had three :). When I had my chance to be in front of him he kindly signed the three booklets and said “don’t tell them!” with a big smile. He was very tired but always kind a polite with everyone.

I hope there will be a chance to have him in Italy again maybe with his other symphonies (the single movies ones). I would definitely go again even with my 4 hours driving to get to Rome!

Grazie Maestro!

Roberto Di Benedetto
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