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Disney in Concert: The Magic of Music.

“Film music is the closest to the music of old, still inspiring for generations to come. You just can’t live without it", said Michał Szpak after yesterday's performance during a spectacular concert with songs from Walt Disney's films. Disney in Concert: We organised The Magic of Music, a ceremonial gala for children, at Krakow’s TAURON Arena. This was the first time that the FMF Youth Orchestra, under the direction of Erik Ochsner and Monika Bachowska, performed in such a monumental setting. Almost twelve thousand people watched the colourful music and film spectacle.

 

The FMF Youth Orchestra – a group of exceptionally talented students of music schools – is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. It started with performances in front of the audience of the Krakow Philharmonic – several hundred people – then there were two thousand spectators of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre and finally yesterday – an enthusiastic audience of twelve thousand gathered in the Krakow TAURON Arena. “This is one of the most beautiful days in my life, in my wildest dreams I did not expect it to go this way", said Monika Bachowska (associated with the orchestra from the very beginning) just after she left the stage. “It’s fantastic working with this ensemble – we are united by trust, friendship, enthusiasm and, above all, great love for film music, despite its difficulties. Pyotr Tchaikovsky's music from Sleeping Beauty is quite a challenge to play, even for adults. Just listen to those strings! I don't know a better way to learn a profession than to take part in such a concert”.

This time, young musicians from Małopolska schools played in an international group, joining forces with peers associated with sister festivals in Ghent and Tenerife. Taking the conductor's podium next to Monika Bachowska was American-Finnish master of baton, Erik Ochsner, who conducted the world premiere of Mary Poppins in Concert at the Sydney Opera House a year ago. Last night’s repertoire featured the true magic of music – the biggest titles from Walt Disney's film collection, including The Little Mermaid, Vaiana,Aladdin, Tangled, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins Returns, Pocahontas, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Coco. The grand finale, sparkling with a thousand colours of confetti, fireworks and golden rain, featured five songs by Elton John and Tim Rice from The Lion King.

“This is not easy music at all”, assures Michał Szpak, who performed, among others, “Out There”, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Oscar-winning song “Remember Me” from Coco. “You not only have to remember the music, but also the enormous importance of the lyrics you’re singing. Many times, as in the case of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it is archetypical. We see a man who wants to imprison another person and thinks it's possible. It’s a very important message – you have to listen to the words and not let yourself be enslave in life”.

In addition to Michał Szpak, Natalia Nykiel also appeared on the TAURON Arena Kraków stage. The duo boldly performed the final “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King; Nykiel also sang “The Circle of Life”, also from the same film, and “How Far I’ll Go” from Vaiana.  “This performance was, above all, an incredible pleasure, but also a great pressure and responsibility, because everyone knows and loves these songs. To disappoint the children would be unforgivable!” said the artist in the first emotional moments after the concert.

In addition to Michał Szpak and Natalia Nykiel, the concert also featured Magdalena Wasylik, Amelia Andryszczyk, Marcin Jajkiewicz and the charismatic, only sixteen-year-old Antek Scardina, who works with fairy tales on a daily basis as a voice artist. Katarzyna Łaska sand the iconic “Let It Go” from Frozen at the end of the first part of the evening. “I love this song, it's such a firecracker, driving everyone on and giving them lots of energy. The kids were wonderful and since they’re the most sincere audience possible, it means that there was true joy coming from those happy little hearts”, the vocalist said after she left the stage.

Disney in Concert: The Magic of Music was not the last attraction of the fourth day of the festival. Late in the evening, in the Krzysztof Penderecki Auditorium Hall of the ICE Congress Centre, we offered the FMF viewers a simultaneous screening of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning Birdman. The soundtrack was performed live by the composer himself – Mexican–American improviser and jazz drummer Antonio Sánchez, who works with Pat Metheny on a regular basis. 

Today, on the penultimate day of the Krakow Film Music Festival, we invite you to the ICE Kraków Congress Centre for an evening monographic concert with works by Alexandre Desplat and for an atmospheric song night woven around the cinema of Quentin Tarantino

Maria Wilczek-Krupa

 

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