The fourth and final presentation of the sell-out Gladiator Live took place on 28 May at the Royal Albert Hall, with Ridley Scott’s ‘swords and sandals’ epic accompanied by the combined forces of the Philharmonia Film Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorus.
The increasing popularity of such live-accompaniment screenings was demonstrated by the addition of an extra night to the original run of three performances, to meet unprecedented demand.
Director Ridley Scott said of the production: ‘We often forget that before sound and film were married on celluloid, we all watched movies with a live music soundtrack.
‘To have the immediacy of a real orchestra as accomplished as the Philharmonia in the room offers an unparalleled dimension to the experience of watching Gladiator.
‘As with all the composers I’ve worked with, Hans [Zimmer]’s music has played a very important role in my films and it’s a pleasure to see this element of the filmmaking process celebrated in this way.’
The film, which features Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Derek Jacobi, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed in his last screen appearance, scooped five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard’s memorable music was recognised as the Best Original Score at the Golden Globes.
Gladiator Live is part of the RAH’s ongoing series presenting cinematic landmarks with live orchestral accompaniment. Future events include the a Star Trek series, which began on 29 May with JJ Abrams’ Star Trek (2009), continuing on 30 May with Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and repeat showings of each on 31 May at 2.30pm and 7.30pm respectively.
Star Trek composer Michael Giacchino said: ‘In 2003, before I wrote my first film score, I saw John Williams conduct E.T. live to picture at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. I will never forget that event.
‘A little over 10 years later, I will have the honour of experiencing my music for both Star Trek films performed by the incredible 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of the talented conductor, Ludwig Wicki.
‘That in itself is exciting, but the fact that we will be in the Royal Albert Hall in London is truly amazing. After working with [Abrams] for 13 years, it will be so rewarding to have his wonderful films brought to life in a whole new way. I look forward to sharing these concerts with J.J. and the Star Trek fans, new and old.’
Future live film performances at the RAH will include include the 1961 musical West Side Story; a repeat performance of last year’s world premiere celebrating the work of composer Danny Elfman in the films of Tim Burton; and Francis Ford Coppola’s crime classic, The Godfather.
Limited tickets are still available for the Star Trek shows at www.royalalberthall.com.