By Elise White
“Of all the [concert halls], in all the towns, in all the world,” I walk into Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall, where the The Utah Symphony is performing Casablanca In Concert. It has been ages since I saw the movie Casablanca and I am excited to see this Oscar nominated classic with my favorite orchestra playing its Oscar nominated score. Conductor Conner Gray Covington gives a warm welcome to the audience and treats us to a brief history of Casablanca’s composer Max Steiner and the impact he made on movie music.As Covington raises his arms to begin, I almost want to call out “Play it, Sam! Play ‘As Time Goes By!’”
And they do! Not original to Casablanca, “As Time Goes By,” is woven into the musical score throughout the film, most notably whenever Ilsa and Rick are together. In fact, the live orchestra makes the audience feel swallowed by the music and the themes woven throughout feel much more noticeable. It is as if it were originally recorded in high definition.
The orchestra does not, however, play over Sam’s character (Arthur “Dooley” Wilson) as he sings along with the piano in the film. The orchestra simply plays quiet background music during those particular moments. This feels like a good call, as it does not interfere with the classic movie performance, allowing it to shine as the art masterpiece it is.
Several moments of the film are enhanced by certain sections of the orchestra. The audience is treated to a jaw-dropping violin solo by concertmaster Madeline Adkins during “Tango Delle Rose.” Her talent leaves the audience in awe.
The trumpet and the maracas make me want to stand up and dance myself and I can almost feel my own hear t break as the timpani pounds and rumbles as Rick reads the letter Isla left him.
During the rousing “La Marseillaise” the brass section calls the audience to battle and the feeling of patriotism and rebellion is palpable. The winds are the standout section of the night, displaying their overwhelming and enchanting talent.
The audience’s applause as “THE END” shines on the screen reminds me of the times past when applause at the conclusion of a film was standard. It wraps up the evening like a cherry on top of a Sundae. As I leave Abravanel Hall, I take a look back, and I can imagine a voice saying quietly, “Here’s lookin’ at you kid.”
“Round up the usual suspects” and come see this classic film with modern sound quality. Casablanca is rated PG.
Utah Symphony presents Casablanca in Concert
123 W South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA
Feb 9th and 10th 7:00 PM
123 West South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: 801-533-NOTE (6683)