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Harry Potter raises the roof at the Royal Albert Hall: Review

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone got a musical lift on Thursday when the movie was screened at the Albert Hall accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra

by Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon

Harry Potter fans were treated to a spectacular screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Thursday night at London’s Royal Albert Hall, with a magical musical addition. Rather than just enjoy John William’s masterful score as a backdrop to the much-loved movie, the music took centre stage in the iconic concert hall, performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

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Much to the delight of fans, many of whom dressed up as members of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the soundtrack took on a tangible life of its own as it engulfed the audience and literally brought the film to life. Feeling as if they were sitting alongside actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in the magical boarding school’s Great Hall, the movie fans cheered along with the rest of Gryffindor as Professor McGonagall declared their house the winners of the end-of-year cup.

And, as encouraged by conductor Justin Freer, the enthusiasts of J.K. Rowling’s record-breaking work cheered, cried, clapped and booed as images of Harry and his child-wizard pals were projected onto the hall’s impressive 40-foot screen.

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Thursday night’s performance was the start of a Potter tour (a first for the UK) which sees the movie and its orchestral and choral accompaniment travel to Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds before finishing up in Glasgow. The musical and cinematic spectacular is live at the Albert Hall for four more nights.

Other movies in the Albert Hall’s Films in Concert this year include The Addams Family, Disney Fantasia and Jaws. For booking details visit royalalberthall.com/tickets