On Friday the 13th, the starry-sky ceiling at the Majestic Theatre darkened. Suddenly, “Harry Potter” materialized, accompanied by the swelling volumes of a live orchestra.
About 1,700 people were there for the revival of “Harry Potter.” The San Antonio Symphony kicked off its “Movies in Concert” this season with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” The 2002 movie is the second in the series that started in 2001. It performed the first movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in June.
A flying car, large spiders, a petrified cat and one huge serpent on the screen above the stage added to the Friday the 13th vibe as the orchestra played John Williams’ expressive score built around different themes tied to specific characters.
The well-versed audience cheered with the first appearance of each character, good or evil. Some of the audience came in costume, such as Aubrey Sergeant, 18, of Port Aransas, dressed in blue and bronze, the colors of Ravenclaw, one of the houses of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“I like to see the actual music. … It enhances the whole experience,” said Sergeant, declaring she was “forever and a day” a Harry Potter fan.
“Who doesn’t like magic? I’m a chemistry major,” added Sergeant, a Texas A&M University freshman who also attended the symphony’s performance of “The Sorcerer’s Stone” at the Majestic.
Conducting the San Antonio Symphony for the first time was Justin Freer of California, who used the “streamers and punches” method of synchronizing the orchestra with the movie, using a monitor’s visual clues, instead of the “click track” method, a digital metronome, that is sometimes used.
The orchestra was vivid in the Quidditch scene, but eerie and ominous in many other scenes in a movie that was darker and deeper in themes than the “Sorcerer’s Stone” film. Especially poignant was seeing Richard Harris in his “Harry Potter” farewell as Dumbledore. Harris died soon after filming “The Chamber of Secrets.”
The movie concert repeats at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Majestic Theatre downtown.
Upcoming San Antonio Symphony movie concerts during the 2017-18 season are “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Dec. 22-23; “Jaws” on Jan. 26-27, “La La Land” on March 2-3 and “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” on May 11-12.