Harry Potter: In Concert Review


Sarah Avila, Reporter

How cool would it be if you could re-watch your favorite movies on the big screen, with the movie’s music being played live by a full orchestra sitting right in front of the screen?

Harry Potter fans got to experience that very thing last month when Symphony Silicon Valley performed the soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as the first movie in the series played right behind them. From the beginning to end credits, the combined orchestra and choir brought the movie to life as never seen before.

With just four performances, the tickets went fast. I bought seats in the 21st row for $65 each, and attended the matinee showing at 2:30 p.m. on a Sunday. One of the first things I noticed when I entered the theater was the enthusiasm of the audience.

Many people were dressed up as Hogwarts students or favorite characters, complete with their wands and Hogwarts house colors. It was great to see so many fans dress up and show so much excitement for the performance.

Another thing I noticed was the size of the audience. As I suspected from the fast sellout, it was almost a full house. But the venue at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts accommodated the huge crowd well. Even from row 21, I could see both the movie screen and the orchestra on stage.

The performance itself was very well done. The orchestra was perfectly in sync with the screen throughout the whole movie. The volume of the music was also the right level; it was loud enough but didn’t cover up the dialogue in the movie. But just in case, the movie featured subtitles so that those harder of hearing could follow along. It was amazing to see the orchestra play Hedwig’s theme and other memorable pieces in the Harry Potter score right in front of me.

During the concert, I was surprised by how much music the orchestra actually played in the show. Before, I didn’t think of Harry Potter as this music-heavy film, but the soundtrack really enhanced the different scenes of the movie. From the Quidditch match to Christmas at Hogwarts to facing You-Know-Who in the end, I realized how important the different musical themes are to the movie as a whole.

However, I was so drawn into the movie that I couldn’t pay as much attention to the orchestra as I wanted. Because I lack the skill of multitasking, I had to constantly remind myself to look away from the movie so I could enjoy the orchestra’s performance. But during the credits, I could fully appreciate the orchestra because of the minimal activity on screen. I was slightly disappointed that there weren’t more opportunities to focus on the orchestra, but overall I absolutely enjoyed the concert.

When the three-hour concert came to an end, the audience gave Symphony Silicon Valley its much deserved standing ovation. The entire concert was an impressive and simply wonderful experience. It wasn’t like your typical movie night. The presence of the live orchestra and choir allowed the audience to value John Williams’ Oscar-nominated soundtrack while reliving the magic of Harry Potter.

If you’re interested in experiencing the magic of Harry Potter and live music together, the series’ second movie—Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets—will be in San Jose next year. Tickets are on sale for Saturday April 1, 2017 for 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday April 2, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.