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REVIEW: Lord Of The Rings In Concert At The Honda Center

Livia Soong |
October 17, 2011 | 3:54 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Lord of the Rings in Concert
Lord of the Rings in Concert
Last minute folks hit the ground running towards the Honda Center last Saturday night. Was it an Anaheim Ducks game? Disney on Ice, maybe? Instead, it was the lure of the One Ring that drew J.R.R. Tolkien and Howard Shore fans to the arena.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert is a nine city tour beginning in Glendale, Ariz. and ending in Sacramento, Calif. The first film of the trilogy is shown on a movie-theater sized screen, complete with subtitles, while accompanied by a live orchestra and choir performing the award-winning score. 

While the screen is considered small relative to the size of the stadium, the film was still clear and visible even to those sitting farthest from the stage. However, the size of the screen was not even given a thought when the concert began. Conducted by Ludwig Wicki, the Munich Symphony performed beautifully, capturing the sweeping emotions and the dramatic majesty of Shore’s score. 

The entire stadium swelled with the symphonic harmonies of leitmotifs like “The History of the Ring” and “A Hobbit’s Understanding.” Each piece was performed flawlessly—so perfectly that it was even occasionally forgotten that there was a live orchestra instead of it being a part of the film. 

In addition to the Munich Symphony, the Pacific Chorale, Phoenix Boys Choir, and soloist Kaitlyn Lusk joined in bringing the film to life. They wield the power of their voices like the fellowship wields their weapons—with a force that is both overwhelmingly powerful and elegant. 

Throughout the course of the movie, there crowd was very participatory, clapping and whistling when a favorite character appeared on screen. Each time the 300 plus musicians completed a rather enthralling piece, the audience once again applauded, but with much reverence like at a normal classical concert.

The entire performance was just short of three hours with a 30 minute intermission. The film is split into two parts appropriately both plot-wise and musically. Where the first half consisted mainly of lighter and more harmonious chords to echo the lushness of the Shire and the ethereal Lothlorien, the second half booms with ominous chants and dramatic clashes that resonate their fates from the mines of Moria to Mount Doom in Mordor.   

It is a long ordeal to sit through, even by symphonic concert standards, but one that is well worth it to fans and non-fans alike. The appreciation for Shore’s composition was evident at the end. While some people left right when the movie ended, the majority of the audience stayed put through the credits for “May It Be,” composed by Enya, only leaving their seats to give a much deserved standing ovation. 

Reach reporter Livia Soong here.

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