London Palladium, London
Nearly 80 years after its release, there is not a lot left to say about the wonderful The Wizard Of Oz. A classic movie, beautifully crafted from script through to performance, design, photography, choreography and a legendary score.
Until, that is, one has the privilege of watching the movie on the big screen with the score played live by a 60-strong orchestra under the baton of Anthony Gabriele. We all know the story with its strongly fabled morality and lyrics that are literally enchanting. Gabriele has studied the film meticulously and his conducting is spot on to the frame.
A skilled musical director will be able to harness live musicians to live actors with a seamless fluidity. But where the action is on screen the scope for fluid flexibility and the odd filler-bar here or there is not an option. For two hours and 40 pages, Gabriele has to hit his mark with pinpoint precision. And he does. Connecting us with our past and our heritage and offering a timeless link to a beautiful history.
Judy Garland et al may be captured, beautifully, in that flickering light beam and one may know the movie thoroughly, but Gabriele truly takes this score over the rainbow. If the gig comes around again, don’t miss it.