Royal Northern Sinfonia: Star Wars in Concert

The force awakens later this year, and worldwide fervour for the increasingly incredible looking, hugely anticipated new Star Wars film is already wide awake and ramping up to fever pitch.

Arriving cannily then a mere couple of months before Episode VII is unleashed, this evening of soaring symphonic glories hand-picked from John William’s genius, decades-spanning scores arrived at the Sage Gateshead, promising a soaring, searing ride through the rich, dense orchestral glories threaded throughout the legendary Skywalker saga, on the cusp of imminent expansion in the upcoming new film.

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Bringing us up to date with the story so far and reminding us why we fell in love with these familial dramas in a galaxy far, far away in the first place, these timeless tunes were delivered by the impossibly-talented, internationally recognised Royal Northern Sinfonia.

The UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra – and the leading professional orchestra in the North East – delivered a galaxy and generation-spanning series of greatest hits from the always memorable, often transcendent body of music that has delighted generations past and will make hearts both race and break for generations to come.

a galaxy and generation-spanning series of greatest hits from the always memorable, often transcendent body of music

Whether it was hearing a favourite moment from the galaxy-spanning scores, witnessing fully-costumed stormtroopers playing cellos, or being sent off to the interval on the back of the irrepressibly jaunty “Cantina Band” theme, there wasn’t a Star Wars fan in the house who didn’t get something special from this magical night.

With mere weeks to go until the next episode of the unstoppable saga hits cinema screens across the world, this one-night-only affair was a breathless celebration of both the movies themselves and the stunning work of John Williams.

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Evocative, exciting, and goosebump-inducing, hearing this iconic music played out in Episode I through VI order revealed the clever connective tissue and whispers of the future that run through the body of work, with melodies, call-backs and call-forwards weaving this whole tale from the galaxy far, far away together.

Complimented by film-appropriate lighting taking us from the swamps of Naboo to the swirling sands of Tatooine and beyond, the force was strong with the costumed orchestra on reliably spectacular form, conducted with vigour and joy – and even, natch, by a lightsaber at one point – and doing the meshuga space opera more than proud throughout this unforgettable evening.

Leigh Venus at Sage Gateshead, 16 October 2015

Originally published in two parts at Narc Magazine Online