Ah, the Symphony, the joyous Symphony. Always a delight to see San Francisco’s finest orchestra performing at Davies Symphony Hall. Movie night with the Symphony is one of my favourite occasions. Big feature films are brought to life again magically by every beat of the talented players. I knew tonight would be unique, especially given the soundtrack and one of the best movie franchises of all time, James Bond. March 17, the twenty-third film in the epic series, “Skyfall,” the franchise’s most successful film to date, hit the big screen, and it was fabulous from start to finish. The symphony hall was jam-packed as it was an almost sold-out show. Vaccinations were required at the door, and masks were optional in the reception areas and lobbies but mandatory once you took your seats. Once the bells sounded and everyone took their seat, the excitement started to build. Conductor and musical guide for the evening, David Newman walked out on stage, took his position at the podium, and the film took off. Daniel Craig made his third appearance in the series and arguably will go down as one of the best Bonds of all time.
As soon as opening credits began to roll and the award-winning academy anthem “Skyfall” performed by the magnificent Adele started, the sounds of the audience were so loud it was deafening. They hit every accent, every note, every dynamic and somehow captured every emotion of Thomas Newman’s incredible musical score. What a fantastic song written by both Adele and Paul Epworth and totally captures the feeling of bond, James bond. The Symphony was flawless, and it was like listening to the actual recording. Yes, it was that good! The film features Javier Bardem as an excellent villain who was originally a secret agent and betrayed by M, played by the late great Judi Dench. Bardem is so good that we almost feel sorry for him at times, rooting for him to win, then remembering that he was still a cold-blood killer out for revenge. Sadly the film sees the death of M and the birth of her successor, played by the outstanding actor Ralph Fiennes.
Whether this was your first time seeing the film or you’ve watched it many times, it didn’t matter as this was something special. I’ve seen many film nights with the Symphony and classical performances, and I have to say, this was probably the best I’ve seen them perform. Capturing the vibe and feel of James Bond and Thomas Newman’s musical score is no easy feat, but they made it seem like second nature. Just incredible and deserving of the standing “O.”
One of my favourite nights thus far, and why I always recommend film nights with the Symphony to everyone I know! It was also great to see so many people enjoying life and out and about, as it felt like pre-pandemic times again. Well, at least that’s the hope going forward.
For more info on the SF Symphony, go to: www.sfsyphony.org