Star Wars’ operatic score gets full orchestral treatment

Star wars figures stormtroopers and Darth Vader

Star wars figures stormtroopers and Darth Vader (ShuBa/BigStock)

“Star Wars: A New Hope” with live score by the Philadelphia Orchestra

July 20, 7:30 p.m.

The Mann Center

Tickets: $25-102

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Sci-fi movie scores, on the whole, tend to lean heavily on synthesizers. There are a lot of reasons “Star Wars” stands out in the genre, but composer John Williams’s legendary, triumphant, symphonic music is pretty high on the list.

As part of the Mann Center’s Summer Picnic series, the original film will be screened with its dialogue and sound effects intact, but with its score stripped out, replaced by a live version performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

“The film score is symphonic and operatic in nature,” said Catherine Cahill, president and CEO of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. “It brings to life the emotion. There’s motifs you hear that remind you of a character at other points in the film. When you listen to John Williams’s music, it is distinctive, inspiring, uplifting. It is brilliantly crafted to share that moment in the film with audiences.”

The Mann screened “Jaws” earlier this summer in the same fashion, and it will give “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” the same treatment on July 26. Whether you’ve seen “Star Wars” once, never, or a thousand times, a live performance of the music by a world-renowned orchestra is a unique experience.

“You have the sonic majesty of the great Philadelphia Orchestra on the Mann’s grand stage,” Cahill said. “You have some of the finest acoustics in the entire country at the Mann. You get a sonic experience, unlike anything you could possibly have in your home stereo system or even the movie theater.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal