Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey is a cinematic masterpiece and an epic trek through space and time.
Now, 35 years after the film’s release, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Philharmonic Choir have taken Kubrick’s film into a whole new dimension, performing the soundtrack live at the Opera House.
The presence of the live orchestra and choir was a musical triumph, perfectly matching the film’s majesty and grandeur.
In the monumental opening scene, a lunar eclipse sweeps across the screen and the orchestra swells with Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra. The sun rises from the darkness, accompanied by a thumping drum beat and triumphant fanfare.
This was a truly remarkable moment to witness live.
It was also a delight to hear the graceful fluidity of Johann Strauss’ The Blue Danube played as the spacecraft floats through the expansive black void.
The energy and vigour of conductor André de Ridder was a spectacle in itself. He led the orchestra with dramatic swishes and flurries, wielding his baton like a magic wand.
There was a great sense of anticipation each time the Philharmonic Choir rose from their seats to voice the soundtrack. They united in a quivering, haunting tremor during the Dawn of Man sequence, performing Ligeti’s Requiem as the black monolith appears.
The Sydney Festival screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey was a stunning celebration of music and film: bold, brilliant and a hell of a lot of fun.