This past weekend I joined composer Howard Shore onstage at Heinz Hall for a unique concert experience with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Between pieces conducted by Ludwig Wicki, Howard and I talked about his career; his collaboration with such celebrated directors as Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson and David Cronenberg; and how The Lord of the Rings changed his life. The concerts included the world premiere of his The Hobbit: Four Movements for Symphony Orchestra, a 30-minute distillation of many of the themes and motifs from his scores for Jackson’s recent Hobbit trilogy of films. Along the way we got to hear such classic Shores scores as The Fly, Ed Wood (with original theremin soloist Lydia Kavina), The Silence of the Lambs, Hugo and (of course) music from Lord of the Rings. Here is a review, which nicely summarizes the proceedings. (Photo courtesy @ShelaghSings)
This was a fascinating experience. The Los Angeles Opera asked me to do the pre-performance lectures before each of the six performances of Howard Shore’s new opera The Fly, directed by David Cronenberg. It’s an entirely new work, although Shore and Cronenberg collaborated on the 1986 film version with Jeff Goldblum. I was called the week of the premiere, so my first (partial) glimpse of the work was actually at dress rehearsal a few hours before it opened. But Howard was very generous with his time and it was fun for me to introduce opera-goers to the saga of the short story, the ’50s film, the ’80s film, and Howard’s own journey from film score to major American opera.