Tuesday 20 March 2018

Review: Enchanted evening of musical bliss

Classical: Ennio Morricone, 3Arena, Dublin

Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Ennio Morricone is the undisputed colossus of film soundtracks, even though the 87-year old still hasn't won an Oscar for his troubles.

As his name is plucked out of an envelope at the BAFTAs, Morricone is otherwise occupied in the 3Arena conducting the Czech National Orchestra. It is unlikely more people have ever crammed onto this stage in a single production.

Billed as celebrating a career spanning 60 years, an evening with Ennio Morricone is like being taken by the hand on supersonic three-dimensional magical mystery tour through decades of celluloid history, but without the actual distraction of the silver screen.

It closely follows last year's My Life in Music show, which also played here, plus an outdoor show at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham in 2013. Despite these frequent Irish visits, Morricone mania is showing no sign of abating with another full house.

Opening with La Migliore Offerta from the 2013 Italian film The Best Offer, the sound is absolutely pristine and a tribute to this auditorium's versatility in recent years.

Morricone merges the familiar iconic scores of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Mission and Once Upon a Time in the West with recent work from Quentin Tarentino's The Hateful Eight, which has been installed as the bookies' favourite for Ennio to finally lift an Oscars statuette at the end of the month.

World-renowned soprano Susanna Rigacci simply stuns on The Ecstasy of Gold from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Her mesmerising, spine-tangling vocal blending with the breathtaking drama of the full choir is worth the price of admission alone. The Man with the Harmonica from Once Upon a Time in the West is another jaw-dropping highlight.

The second half doesn't quite pack the same punch as the spaghetti western-laden first, and there are slightly too many reprises in the encore set, but these are relatively petty complaints, as the Italian maestro presents another enchanted evening of musical bliss.

Irish Independent

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