On Thursday, November 21, 2019, the Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa (BOS) conducted by Rubén Gimeno, celebrated the 130th anniversary of the Arriaga Theater in Bilbao (Spain), with a film music concert hosted by the voice actors Jordi Brau and Lluis Posada (read news).
Asier G. Senarriaga, a regular collaborator in SoundTrackFest, attended the concert, and leaves us this summary article.
For anyone from Bilbao, the mere mention of the words Teatro Arriaga/Arriaga Theater, together or separately, involve emotional memories, smiles, and indelible experiences. Throughout the 20th century, it has attracted the best talents in the world: interpretation, bel canto or symphonic conducting, from the composition or the dramaturgy, from David Mamet and the unforgettable Glengarry Glenn Ross to John Malkovich, Lalo Schifrin or Ennio Morricone, two movie titans, having also Kepa Junkera, or dozens of Zinebi or Fant festivals editions. But perhaps, most importantly, surviving time, historic floods of political changes, hard times, waking up the love for the Theater, for Music, for Cinema, for interpretation, and ultimately for magic, in hundreds of thousands of people, throughout these wonderful thirteen decades dedicated to the Arts.
To commemorate such a great anniversary, on November 21, 2019, a different concert was held; an original and unusual experience, fun and full of love for these above-mentioned Arts, to which once more, dubbing/voice acting, would be added. With the presence of the mythical actors Jordi Brau, the Spanish voice of Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Kenneth Branagh, Dennis Quaid, Robin Williams, Tom Cruise, Daniel Day-Lewis or Tom Hanks, or even Chucky, the devilish doll, and Lluis Posada, with decades being the voice in Spain of Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, Adrien Brody, John Cusack or Leonardo Di Caprio, as excellent examples of his excellent curriculum, we were going to take a trip to the sensations that the Cinema evokes and inspires in us, with a selection of legendary scores, accompanied by the sensational work of Rubén Gimeno leading the magnificent orchestra BOS (Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa).
The evening would begin with a funny presentation of the range of nuances, voices, and tonal variations of the throats of these two virtuosos of the dubbing, jumping from Mrs. Doubtfire to Jack Sparrow, from Adrian Cronauer to The Mask, from Frank Abagnale Jr. to Jack Dawson embarking on the Titanic, from Ethan Hunt to Gump, Forrest Gump. And to begin the night, they brought the most genuine and sumptuous emotion, the eternal “What a Wonderful World” by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, that Louis Armstrong made immortal, melting the audience, that was already committed.
The macabre waltz that Joe Renzetti composed for Child’s Play in his first installment in the eighties, led to a playful string section of the orchestra joining with the invocation of the spell that would bring Chucky to life, with a Jordi Brau transformed and terrifying. It would be the first ovation of the night, despite the fact that the actor’s show, was covering the orchestra and the arabesques of the piece.
And the party began with the arrival of “Hey, Pachuco” that brought the lively jazz and the smiles to the audience, while Lluis Posada acted with unprecedented talent.
But after the fun, the seriousness took the stage to remember the Second Movement of Symphony No. 7 of Ludwig Van Beethoven during the big scene of the modern classic, The King’s Speech, and such a remarkable reconstruction transformed our two actors into George VI and Edward VIII of England, at this crucial and iconic moment in British history. The fascinating interpretation of Brau made us relive that of Colin Firth in detail, making everyone participate in the acting brilliance that requires becoming a legend of dubbing, in case anyone had any doubts. Brau was sincerely, apotheosic.
And then we traveled to the Titanic, with Jack Dawson on the voice of Posada shouting his epic “I am The King of the World!” and with the masterful score of an always wonderful James Horner, moistening our cheeks while the “unsinkable” departed, collided with the iceberg, and split into two halves, making us hold our breath when Jack said goodbye to Rose in an icy sea, telling her that he would always be with her.
We were still cleaning our tears when Ron Kovic‘s indignant and loud voice dominated the scene and John Williams‘ majestic notes took us on a symphonic journey, from the innocence of America and its young recruits in Vietnam, to the despair and bitterness of their return, and to the drama of oblivion, Born on the Fourth of July, full of elegiac dignity, to show us a tragic part of the history, local to the USA, and universal, of the terrible consequences in the human being, of each and every one of the wars.
However, not everything was going to be drama, because in the hands of Ethan Hunt, Brau showed us the plan to recover the concert scores from the Arriaga’s Vault Chamber, and for this mission, if he decided to accept it, he was going to infiltrate in a room with sonic alarm and retinal scanner, nearly impenetrable. It was not going to be an easy task. It was going to be an impossible mission. The magnificent action theme composed by Lalo Schifrin exploded with the entire orchestra at full power, to shed the pure cinematic magic and the sense of wonder of an imperishable classic, with lavish strings, percussive piano, drums and percussion, winds and brass giving everything, and a thunderous ovation to conclude the first part of the concert. Mission accomplished, Mr. Hunt.
And then we returned to our seats after the intermission to immerse ourselves immediately in the 19th century and discover the Barber of Seville, in a wonderful Aria from Fígaro, to the voice of Jordi Brau, filled with fun despite not reaching all the notes, and most importantly, he entertained the audience with his innate funny character. The came Catch me if you can between Tom Hanks and Leonardo Di Caprio, next to Posada, to deliver us a thematic revision of the masterpiece of John Williams, while to the rhythm of jazz and exquisite melody, Frank Abagnale Jr. implored the FBI, that this Christmas, they should stop chasing him.
The emotionality of the beautiful “Buon Giorno, Princippessa” of the sensational Life is Beautiful by Nicola Piovani, gave Brau the opportunity again to transform himself into Roberto Benigni mixing in the spectators goosebumps and laughter, with the strings taking us from drama to comedy, reminding us what it takes to be a good Italian. The BOS reached exquisite levels of sensitivity in this piece, bravo for its interpretation and the guided direction of a sensational Rubén Gimeno, who due to the “dubbing”, was possessed by Chucky (moving his lips while Brau talked).
A film music concert without one of the most used pieces in concert in the last fifteen years? No, it is not possible. And so we had Pirates of the Caribbean – The Curse of the Black Pearl, and interestingly, devoting more time to the melodic themes, than to the bombastic ones, also present. This was fresh and absolutely vibrant, especially in the piece “Moonlight Serenade” before Posada was transformed into Sparrow, sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow, as he emphasized, making us partakers of his love for La Perla, the women, the piracy, women, gold… wait… did I say women?
We arrived to the end of the party, with the entrance of a flying feather, rocked by Alan Silvestri‘s piano notes, a fascinating review of the American culture of the last sixty years, passing from the percussion and sweeping symphonism of Vietnam, to his statement to Jenny, to his career touring the Country, while the orchestra accelerates our hearts, and we feel that life is like a box of chocolates, although this time we did know what we were going to have: a splendid film music concert, with a wonderful orchestra, a great conducting, and unrepeatable talents, such as Jordi Brau and Lluis Posada, to whom any movie fan should feel in debt, for all the magic delivered throughout the years in our country.
And as The Mask said, and since this was the encore chosen to say goodbye to the evening, when you remember this concert many years later, remember the trumpets, the drum vibrating, the piano and the strings in perfect singular polyphony, and let yourself be carried away by the rhythm, shouting and spreading your joy to the rest of the world,
Article and pictures by Asier G. Senarriaga