When I attended my first and the inaugural Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular (DWSS) in Melbourne at the Plenary back in 2012, I never thought that I would be attending one again, much less one in the same venue and city. Two years on, I was back to watch my 6th, 7th and 8th Doctor Who concert…
Derived from a programme similar to the Doctor Who Prom 2013 in London, the DWSS 2014 promised something new and exciting, featuring pieces from the latest series and episodes that were not played in their 2012 concert.
Performing these pieces were the lovely folks of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, led by Doctor Who maestro and conductor, Ben Foster, and joined by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Three shows in total on 31 January and 1 February 2014.
I attended all of them.
Upon entering the Plenary, one is greeted by a lush green colour of seats, of this huge venue comprising of ground floor seats, a slightly raised and tiered upper level, and a second level above that, of which the latter two form two wide semi circles.
This view can also be seen at: http://360.io/zQh4Cd
Once seated, it was evident, going from the group of concert goers that had gathered near the stage before the show, and later during intermission, how thrilled everyone was to see the TARDIS, or as I like to affectionately call her now, ‘Sexy’, on stage.
Dear old Sexy had never been to a DWSS performance before and, it was really great to see her dazzling just behind the cellos and double basses on stage left.
And, so it began…
'The Madman With A Box', featuring soprano soloist Antoinette Halloran, started the evening/afternoon. I must admit that I have grown to adore Halloran's voice so much, having heard her perform in previous DWSSes in Melbourne and Sydney in 2012. It is rich and beautiful, and reminds me of one of those Christmas Muscat wines from country vineyards. Really enchanting. This allure is amplified when she sings 'Abigail's Song', later in show.
'The Madman With A Box’, which has opened, so far, all the DWSS performances and the recent Doctor Who Prom, is such a brilliant piece to begin with. The music starts off slow and mellow with just the orchestra, as if enticing the audience to enter the Doctor’s world, or in other words, the start of a spectacular musical journey. Then, it builds up to a warm and bright glow as the soloist sings, before the incandescence of it all envelopes the piece to a strong end. My favourite part; the forte and somewhat slur bit of the violins, during the second part of the vocals, when the piece starts to glow and come to life almost like it’s regenerating.
At any of these Doctor Who concerts, it is always a joy, for me at least, to see the happiness of young wide-eyed Whovians who enjoy and love watching Doctor Who so much, get so excited when they see monsters walking around the hall and on stage, as they hear the wonderful music of Who. It is really a precious moment. ‘I Am The Doctor’, for instance, still continues to cause much excitement for the kids. Squeals and excited pointing filled the atmosphere as the seven beat composition played. A similar scene followed with ‘Cyber Shard’, ‘All The Strange, Strange Creatures’, ‘First There Were Daleks’ and ‘The Name Of The Doctor’.
At one point, it looked as if a Cyberman wanted to kill a Silent on sight.
For the older crowd, host and Fifth Doctor, Peter Davision proved a hit. In fact, I reckon he was the best host yet. There were jokes about the recent Ashes, a slight plug for The Five(ish) Doctors reboot and a mention of him liking the Tenth Doctor very much. But what sealed the deal, was the bantering fun between Davison and Foster, which got funnier with each performance.
Let’s just say that, by the Saturday evening show, there was a giant celery involved, as well as the musical score to Earthshock, the Opera, which was to be 4 hours long, and have Davison sing in it.
Tom Baker, also made an ‘appearance’, in a couple of pre-recorded videos, to the delight of many Fourth Doctor fans.
'Cyber Shard', has fast become my favourite new addition to a Doctor Who concert. I absolutely love listening to and watching the fast movements of the strings in beginning of 'The Speeder' (a track played in that suite), which fills the veins in my heart with so much liquid Gold, it tears at the heartstrings in a magical way. Much like 'Song Of Freedom'. The composition then explodes into brassy brilliance by the brass section! BOOM! And, I am free! The suite also includes 'Up the Shard', another brassy piece with a great beat that, before I know it, I am nodding my head to the rhythm. Indeed, hearing these particular sections in this piece just makes me want to hug all of the orchestra members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for what they are doing.
Apart from post-2005 music, music from the Classic Doctor Who era was also played. It was lovely to hear ‘Classic Doctor Who Medley’ performed against the backdrop of footage from the Classic Doctor Who episodes. It was certainly a favourite of many in the hall, judging from the number of smart phones, iPads and cameras, that were suddenly whipped out. For me, I loved the radiophonic-like sounds that was produced, and only wished that there was more Classic music at these Doctor Who concerts. One is clearly not enough.
Another popular favourite was ‘The Companions’; a suite paying tribute to Rose, Martha, Donna and Amy. A slight observation: it was nice that there was no loud clapping or cheering, each time a new companion was shown. The Australian audience had chosen, instead, not to mar the listening pleasure of each companion’s theme.
'The Final Chapter of Amelia Pond' saw the return of Halloran again, leaving some in tears, as footage of Amy Pond's farewell was shown. This piece was similar to the shorter Proms version, rather than the slightly longer DWSS Sydney version.
Greta Wilkinson, a young Australian girl, sang the part of the Queen of Years, in ‘The Rings of Akhaten’, and it was sung most beautifully. Really beautifully. She was even better than the girl who sang in the Proms’ version of the piece, carrying the emotion, meaning and surmounting power of the song very well, and complementing her tenor counterpart, Paul McMahon, who was very good as well. ‘The Long Song, as sing in ‘The Rings Of Akhaten’, is iridescent, painful and so full of heart; it speaks of life and of living. It is probably my favourite piece in series 7.
Hearing it, I could not help but sing along to it.
Of course, I was also singing along to ‘First There Were The Daleks’. I both blame and thank the Doctor Who Fan Orchestra for making me know all the lyrics to this piece.
And then, there was ‘Song For Fifty’, of which I never fail to sing along to, ever since hearing the world premiere of it on 13th July 2013, and which lyrics and melody still pull at my heartstrings, with even note, chord and word uttered or played. The singers, Halloran and McMahon, were stunningly brilliant, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus, were equally charming. The lyrics are so powerful, and the melody, perfect. More liquid Gold there..
“From the jaws of disaster…From a planet besieged by deadly ancient foes…”
“Fumbling and bumbling while all around is crumbling and stumbling through time like you’re a mad man still it’s humbling to watch you reconcile divergent creeds without succumbing to the lure of weapons, force or greed you only use intelligence and jokes and charm…”
'Fifty' is such a keeper, and a gorgeous, warm tribute to the 50th. Footage of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode, 'The Day Of The Doctor' was shown towards the end of 'Fifty'; the gallery scene with Matt Smith and Tom Baker, and it was such a beautiful moment when coupled with the orchestra. The piano chords in it, just broke my heart into pieces. Pieces… Pieces that scattered into all of space and time of the Plenary hall.
'Time of the Doctor' followed next, and this was one piece that had never been heard before at any Doctor Who concert. The blend of piano and forte throughout the piece, showed the strength of dynamics and the skill of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. At one point of time, 'Time Lord' gobos were used for lighting and it threw the hall into a kaleidoscope of Gallifreyan-like symbols. For a moment, we were transported to Gallifrey.
There were a couple of solo instrumental moments during the whole programme and most were executed beautifully. However, my favourite was the violin soloist who played a Gaellic-like piece in ‘The Name Of The Doctor’. That was simply exquisite…
Ben Foster, has always been a joy to watch conducting. ‘Swish, swish, accompanied by sort of dance-like conducting movements, coupled with such passion, dedication and intensity. It is most endearing and fascinating to watch.
In addition, how many conductors do you know that can fight off daleks with a sonic baton? Wonderfully hilarious with loads of overacting too. In fact, it became funnier with each performance, with more dramatisation each time. There was a mix of Basil and Bean-like acting, a cricket bat, and a selfie with a dalek! A selfie!! A bloody selfie! Live on stage, in front of everyone! I almost died…
BAFTA award for the ‘Best Slow Death With A Dalek? YES!
Exterminate the slave conductor!
Lighting has improved so much since the last DWSS concert at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), back in 2012. The gels used and the combination of how they were used, depending on the pieces played, blended rather well. For example; in ‘The Companions’, where different colours were to reflect each companion.
One of my favourite moments was when a footage of ‘Vincent And The Doctor’ was shown; the Starry Night scene. The lighting changed to blue and yellow. The contrast between these colours, the orchestra and the backdrop of that clip, was very enthralling and clever.
Gallifreyan symbol-like gobos exploded across the hall for ‘The Time Of The Doctor’, casting magical Gallifreyan symbols across the whole hall.
Even some parts of the orchestra was lit up, on stage, the lights blinking in various colours, somewhat synchronising with the tempo of the music. That was amazing.
It was great lighting, reminiscence of the DWSS Sydney performances
Acoustic wise, while my favourite place to watch a Doctor Who concert remains the Sydney Opera House, followed by the Royal Albert Hall, the sound has much improved for the Plenary. There was little or no sound leak, delay or feedback, with the exception of a minor feedback from the microphone/speaker during the end of ‘The Companions’ for their Saturday evening performance. Having said that however, for a big venue, and one of which, classical concerts are not its forte, the Plenary did well. Much better than their 2012 show.
All in all, it was great to be back in Melbourne again for the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular. Listening to the genius of Murray Gold bring depth and philosophy to a character and television series, so that, musically, it exist in all of time and space.
Classical type concerts are always nice. But the DWSS is just a little bigger on the inside…
Thank you to the soloists, to the wonderful Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus, to the fantastic musical duo, composer Murray Gold and conductor Ben Foster, to giant celery owner, cricket fan and host Peter Davison, and finally to producer Paul Bullock, in fact the whole DWSS, for making these concerts possible. Their talents and dedication to the DWSS prohect were definitely bigger on the inside. Even surpassing the expectations of a long time Doctor Who concert aficionado.
For this trilogy of DWSS Melbourne concerts, I met Georgia (from New Zealand) again, and sort of ‘bumped’ into Ben during the end of the afternoon concert.
Until the next time…The Wandering Nessie. xx
Asked by acciobillweasley
Yup. I tried that. Sadly, RedBubble doesn’t do both front and back, just front or back. Thus I had to sort of tweak both designs in. Also tried Cafepress, but it seems front and back designs are only available for personal customized designs to oneself and not an available option as a public sale. :(
Nevertheless, if I do find one with both front and back options, or if RedBubble changes their design options, I’ll be sure to put that design up. :)
••¤(`×[¤ Our 221B Baker Street Set is Finished ¤]×´)¤••
We have had this set planned for a year and now it’s done… it doesn’t feel quite real ( ﾟ,_ゝﾟ)
We already have plans to add either two new cups and/or a creamer and sugar set (Molly and Mary ^^) and a black and white version of the teapot, so you’ll have a lot of choices if you buy this set!
This set will be in the ‘Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Ball’ Auction that the BakerStreetBabes are hosting. So go bid on it! (Or just admire it from a distance ヽ(ｏ`皿′ｏ)ﾉ )
This set or pieces of this set will also be available in our Etsy store later in the year~~
Thank you to the BakerStreetBabes for including us in your auction! You guys are awesome!
And thank you to Taggianto, for letting us use her original design signatures!!