Sunday, August 20, 2006

Disney's Fantasia — Live!

We went to the Hollywood Bowl again. This time to see Walt Disney’s Fantasia, which for the very first time in its 66-year history, was shown publicly while a live orchestra played the score. It was amazing to hear it with live music.

Fantasia plays on the screen as the live orchestra plays the music. (08/19/06)

They went through all the scenes from Fantasia, with a few extras, including the world premiere of the live Clair de lune based on Claude Debussy’s piano piece. Clair de lune was supposed to be in the original release, but was cut to reduce the film’s length. In 1996 a workprint version was discovered. And tonight they did the first public performance.

Other extras included the storyboarded but never animated Flight of the Bumblebee and Destino, a collaboration between Walt Disney and surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Destino began as a project in 1945, and remained unfinished until 1999 when it was completed under the direction of Walt Disney’s nephew, Roy Disney.

The show closed with a fireworks finale. (08/19/06)

It was also a great way to see John Mauceri, who after 16 years as the conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, has announced he will be moving on to other projects after the conclusion of this season. In all the time I’ve been going to the Hollywood Bowl, John Mauceri has been a staple. Interestingly enough, during his pre-performance banter, he mentioned that when he was in his 20s, he was a student of Leopold Stokowski, who arranged the music for, and appeared in, Fantasia. How cool is that?

The evening ended with fireworks that complemented the spectacular beauty of this cinematic triumph.

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