Sunday 22 October 2017

Review: 'Spectacular' Ennio Morricone mesmerises crowd at 3Arena

John Meagher

John Meagher

In the summer of 2013, Ennio Morricone conducted a cast of hundreds in the lovely outdoor setting of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

It was his Irish debut. Now, at the age of 86, he has wasted little time in returning to Dublin and while his previous visit was special, this one's spectacular.

Here, in a purpose built amphitheatre rather than a field exposed to the elements, one can fully appreciate an extraordinary body of work from one of cinema's great soundtrack artists.

Whether it's the stirring theatrics of his score for The Untouchables or the piano-led majesty of Cinema Paradiso, this is a celebration of more than 60 years in the industry.

Morricone's most fruitful collaboration was with the 'spaghetti western' director Sergio Leone and tonight there are rousing cuts from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars and Once Upon A Time in The West.

It's on the Leone music that the full scale of the show is best appreciated with the 100-piece orchestra delivering a thrillingly rousing sound and the entire choir employed.

In the night's standout moment, suprano Susanna Rigacci appears for a stunningly primal vocal performance on 'The Ecstasy of Gold' from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - a role she reprises at the show's finale.

Elsewhere, there is pleasure to be derived from the lesser known pieces including the electric guitar solo on 'The Sicilian Clan' and the gorgeous harp on 'The Legend of 1900' - both from films of the same name.

Ultimately, though, it's the familiar pieces that have the greatest impact - especially the memorable violins of 'Chi Mai' from Le Professionnel and the marvellously soothing 'Gabriel's Oboe' from The Mission.

The latter has become something a cliche as wedding music, but hearing it played as beautifully as this and with its elderly, gaunt composer coaxing magic out of his players is a very special treat indeed.

The applause at the end is sustained and deserved for a true master at work.

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