ROLLERCOASTER MUSICAL RIDE
Good films are capable of making us laugh or cry. Good ones take us through emotional highs and lows, with everything in between. Noting that, music as one of important elements in films is created to enhance an emotional impact that particular scenes are about to deliver. A concert called Hollywood in Jakarta, held on Dec. 10 at the Theater Jakarta at the Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) cultural center in Central Jakarta, seeks to deliver both musical and visual experiences that pamper the senses immensely.
As suggested by its name, the concert presents 18 songs (plus two additional ones during the encores) from the Hollywood motion pictures.
The organizer said the performance was aptly scheduled to be played in December, when people might find their spirits starting to worn out after dealing with a tough year marked by an economic slowdown, along with other types of crisis.
In addition to the timing, another special thing from the concert is that it is more than conventional live-band performance.
During the concert, all the pieces were performed with an orchestral setting for a series of performances by Jakarta Concert Orchestra (JCO), complete with the tender choral voices from the Batavia Madrigal Singers and the Resonanz Children’s Choir.
A number of chanteuses, namely Lisa Depe and Stefani Yang, as well as a male solo vocalist Farman Purnama also performed during
a concert conducted by Avip Priatna.
Avip said this year’s concert was different from the previous Classical Goes
to Cinema presentation in 2014, where he exclusively picked classical concerto themes featured in various movies, as the latest project did not classicize the Hollywood themes.
“We also reinterpret some of the songs to make them sound different from the original versions in order to avoid boredom,” he said.
Arrangers for the songs are Joko Lemazh Suprayitno, Renardi Efendi, Fafan Isfandiar, Meidy Ratnasari and Fero Aldiansya Stefanus.
The set that night was opened by a commanding instrumental performance of “The Polar Express” from a film with the same name.
In the background, footages from the film showcasing the frosty and snowy setting of Christmas time, with the young protagonist searching for a miracle to change his life, were presented on a big screen.
The first piece delivered the spirit of renewal and new hopes after 12 months of day-to-day struggles and routines.
At the end of the first song, a woman could be seen wiping her eyes, apparently moved by the performance.
A similar sentiment was also delivered in the second part of the concert by another song “When You Believe” from the 1998 film The Prince of Egypt. The song was originally performed by pop divas Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston.
But this time, the message of hope and faith was articulated in a much louder manner, with the two female chanteuses, Lisa and Stefani, joining forces with the children choir. When the song ended, you could see more people wiping their noses and eyes, with faint sounds of noses being sucked in.
The melancholy was then reinforced with the next song, “Love Affair Theme” from Love Affair, with footages of the sweet old lady played by the late Katharine Hepburn playing piano to Annette Bening and Warren Beatty. This part was probably the one that sent the audience to the lowest depth of their souls.
However, just as the warm sunlight of spring replaced the bleak cold winter in the country where these Hollywood films were being produced, the set helped the audience’s spirits bounce back with a medley of songs from the 2013 animation Frozen.
Performed by children clad in colorful clothes and cheerful moves, the song drew laughter and excitement from the audience, melting their hearts, which had been ‘frozen’ by the melancholy of the previous song.
Aside from these highlights, other pieces also managed to evoke different moods were also performed.
The wildest applause was given to performances of songs from the legendary 1978 hit Grease as well as 1977
Saturday Night Fever. The latter song was performed by an all-male choir donning a 1970s style of clothing. The audience went wild again during the performance of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King as recorded music and sounds from the choir intersected with other sounds mimicking the voices of birds and monkeys.
A feeling of tense and dread, meanwhile, invaded the audience during the performance of theme songs from
Jaws. The songs were performed with the hide-and-seek musical tempo that ended inconclusively with the video showing the shark coming towards a man, trapped in a cage, to open its jaws wide, seemingly ready to devour him. When the end seemed near, the video stopped.
Another highlight came when Lisa performed Adele’s “Skyfall” with a very strong voice which went louder than the voice of the real singer. This number showcased Lisa’s ability as a singer that managed to cross the line of classical and pop music.
“We pick songs that could represent the whole Hollywood catalog from then until now, which work in an orchestral arrangement. We, however, try to avoid certain songs which already get clichéd because they get played very frequently,” Avip said. After the closing number from Les
Misérables, the audience shouted, clamoring for an encore. Then footage from 2012 film Joyful Noise appeared, with a gospel choir singing and the Kiki Palmer character was reprimanded by the conductor for “singing too loud”. Then, the orchestra and choir pulled off an electrifying, soulful version of a number from the film.
Then for the second encore, the audience enjoyed a piece from The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout”, which got them clapping and moving their body along to the tune. The energizing song was an appropriate choice to end that evening with the audience’s spirits sky-high.
After the second encore ended, nobody got up from their chairs yet, apparently being glued there, amazed by the performance. It was not until a few minutes later, when a formal recorded announcement was broadcasted through the theater hall that the audience realized that it was all over for good.
THE MAESTRO: Conductor Avip Priatna leads the orchestra playing different songs from Hollywood movies. SPECTACULAR PERFORMANCE: Jakarta Concert Orchestra gives audience an unforgettable night with their musical performance.
COLORFUL SPIRIT: Children clad in colorful clothes and cheerful moves sing a medley of songs from the 2013 animation Frozen.
MAGNIFICENT THREE: ( from left to right) Vocalists Farman Purnama, Stefani Yang and Lisa Depe perform in Hollywood in Jakarta concert.
MEN IN BLACK: All-male choir donning a 1970s style of clothing performs the 1977 hits from Saturday Night Fever.