On Wednesday January 4th, 2017, the show “Disney in Concert – Magical Music from the Movies” arrived to Bilbao, and it did with two performances, at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., after having been in Madrid on the 20th and 21st of December 2016, in national mini-tour.
Gorka Oteiza (SoundTrackFest) attended the function offered in Bilbao at 9:00 p.m., the last of the tour, and has prepared this summary article.
Within a traditional Christmas environment, and with the possibility of having young kids in the concert hall (unconditional fans of animated films of Disney), the Euskalduna Palace in Bilbao hosted two performances of music from Disney’s movies in the event “Disney in Concert – Magical Music from the Movies“.
While approximately 80% of the seats in the upper sections were complete, where ticket prices started at € 26, in the stalls area, where prices were up to € 78, just over half of the seats were occupied. Considering that this was the night session, less ideal than the afternoon session for kids, and also being the second session of the day, it can be considered that the public response to the show was very satisfactory.
The night began with a presentation by the well-known Basque comedian Gurutze Beitia, who was the master of ceremonies throughout the evening, performing first introductions of the concert, of the Malaga born conductor Arturo Díez Boscovich, of the Symphony Orchestra of Bilbao (Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa – BOS), and later presenting the songs and singers (Paco Arrojo, Julia Möller, Judith Tobella and Diego Rodríguez) as they went on stage, always giving a touch of humor and color to the transitions between the pieces.
The first theme was an Overture of Disney’s Classics, an almost 10-minute orchestral suite that included music from several classic movies (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and the March of Mickey Mouse), offering a review of the musical past of this giant factory of dreams that is Disney, in an intelligent maneuver, that left the rest of the concert open to music from more recent and commercial films, ideal for the younger audience.
While the orchestra was interpreting the suite in a precise and rhythmic way, the careful supervision of Arturo Diéz Boscovich was giving the exact instructions to each one of the sections of the orchestra, baton in hand, balancing, matching and transforming the sound that came from the musicians with his instructions, sound that in this case, had only a slight amplification. Synchronously, and on a large screen over the orchestra, a selection of video clips with scenes from the films was being showed.
After the intense and colorful initial opening, which was received with great applause from the audience, and after a presentation that included several jokes, the music of The Little Mermaid (composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman) was performed. Specifically, the song Part of Your World, with Judith Tobella’s strong and sweet voice, giving the piece emotion, where the only fault were the projected images on the screen, that were slightly pixelated some times, as if the original video source was not in high definition.
After a short pause and continuing with The Little Mermaid, singer Paco Arrojo came on stage to perform the fun and explosive theme Under the Sea, where unfortunately the lyrics of the song could not be completely understood, because of a mixture of adjustments in his microphone and in the projection of his voice, that also overlapped too much the music played by orchestra.
Then a brief orchestral suite that included the theme Poor Unfortunate Souls followed, as well as part of the music of the end of the film, giving a perfect closing to this segment dedicated to The Little Mermaid.
Once again, the presenter went on stage to introduce the following theme, Pocahontas – Colors in the Wind (music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz), which was performed by Julia Möller. A beautiful piece, deployed with a powerful voice and a very heartfelt interpretation, that originated the applause of an enthusiastic public.
Then the block dedicated to the music of the Beauty and the Beast began (music composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman), which started with the 4 singers on stage to interpret the theme Belle, the beginning of the movie at the most typical musical overture, and that was fantastic with the four alternating voices interspersing moments. Later, the funny and joyful piece Be Our Guest! arrived, although perhaps it was the weakest part of the block, giving way to the main theme from Beauty and the Beast, brilliantly interpreted in a very conjoined duet.
It was time for a classic, The Jungle Book – I want to be like you (music by Richard and Robert Sherman), where soloist Paco Arrojo imposed a frenetic pace with his three companions acting in chorus, making the audience move in their seats, although the replies to the soloist by the choir, were covered by the strength of the replica of the brass section in the orchestra.
The next suite was from the film The Hunchback of Notre Dame (music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz), with the themes The Bells of Notre Dame, Topsy Turvy and Out There, merged into a perfect orchestral suite, in which the BOS orchestra brought the whole of their sonorous palette, providing a brilliant and very balanced performance, being the directing of Arturo Díez Boscovich responsible of it.
To introduce the next part, the host Gurutze Beitia entered the room dressed with an oriental veil, thus giving the perfect setting to the suite of Aladdin (music composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Tim Rice) which included Arabian Nights, legend of the lamp and the love theme A whole new world, where the weak point was the interpretation of ‘legend of the lamp’, which was too fast and where the lyrics couldn’t be understood properly, and the strong point was the final duet with the theme of the protagonists of the movie.
The next suite was a concession in the program to one of the biggest Disney franchises, Pirates of the Caribbean (music by Klaus Badelt), being the unique suite that had real images all time and not animation clips, and that musically speaking, was expendable in comparison to the rest of the program. As a curious note, in none of the video clips shown on the screen appeared any of the famous characters of the saga, probably due to image rights.
Following we listened to the theme Tangled – I See the light (composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Glenn Slater), a song performed by the duo formed by Paco Arrojo and Judith Tobella, where animated by suggestion of the hostess, the audience accompanied with the lights of the mobiles in the darkness of the room, emulating the well-known scene of the film. A very special moment of the evening.
And nearly finishing the concert we had Frozen (music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez and Christophe Beck), one of the most anticipated moments of the night for the audience. Featuring songs like Vuelie, Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, For the First Time in Forever, In summer and the great hit Let it Go, that took the biggest applause of the concert; a deserved ovation due to its fabulous and deep interpretation.
To end the program, the music of The Lion King was played (composed by Hans Zimmer, Elton John and Tim Rice), with the themes This land, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, Can You Feel the Love Tonight and the wonderful Circle of Life, closing the night and leaving an energetic and wonderful ending of the concert, with the singers and the orchestra delivering a great musical climax, under the accomplice supervision of the conductor.
But in spite of being almost two hours since the beginning of the concert, the public did not want to leave yet, and due to the insistence of the applauses, the artists returned to stage to play the fun and happy song Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins (music by Richard and Robert Sherman).
Once the theme was over, a new round of applauses and the whistling of an audience that was having a great time, made the whole cast come out again for the second time, to interpret together again The Jungle Book – I want to be like You, but with a difference: on this occasion, the whole room stood up to dance … public, hostess, artists … and even the orchestra director!
A wonderful end for a perfect concert!
It was a good idea to have a hostess for the whole evening like Gurutze Beitia, since not only the children / young audience thanked and applauded the comments and jokes that she was doing between sutres, but also her introductions made easier to follow the function without knowing what was going to be interpreted next, generating cohesion throughout the evening, and giving the sensation of being more in a gala than in a concert. A very good idea, not intrusive, that should be taken into account for future concerts.
Regarding the orchestra Orquesta Sinfónica de Bilbao (Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa – BOS), the singers (Paco Arrojo, Julia Möller, Judith Tobella & Diego Rodríguez) and the conductor Arturo Díez Boscovich, musically speaking, there’s only one thing that can be said: they gave us a perfect night.
A very well handled production, a supreme interpretation of the orchestra in all the suites (although some like The Hunchback of Notre Dame excelled slightly the rest), an enthusiastic and controlled but at the same time very committed and precise directing of Arturo, complemented and boosted by the great voices of the singers, made us relive throughout almost 2 hours, all those fabulous and magical moments of the Disney films included in the program.
A first class concert, with very high quality, which we hope will have a new tour this 2017, and that we want to see back in Bilbao soon, as it is an event that if it is repeated again, there is no excuse to miss.