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Review: The NSO Pops: ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’: Film with Live Music at The Kennedy Center

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The most significant difference between entering your neighborhood cinema to catch the latest PG film offering and traversing the Hall of Nations to enter the Grand Foyer at The Kennedy Center in anticipation of The National Symphony Orchestra Pops (NSO): E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (E.T.) – Film with Live Music is the number of black cocktail dresses and men’s neckties.

movie_poster6After all, even though E.T. reigned as the top grossing film for eleven years after its debut in 1982, this was much more that watching some old rerun on Netflix The Kennedy Center website invites us to experience this heartfelt tale as never before in high definition splendor on a big screen, with Composer John Williams’ soaring Oscar-winning score performed live by the NSO Pops. Bring drinks and snacks from the intermission bars into the Concert Hall, and complete this unique cinematic experience with free popcorn. Did you catch that?  Popcorn in the Concert Hall” – mind blowing!!

Conductor Steven Reineke stood throughout the entire film. Between masterfully coaxing the nearly seventy piece orchestra to enter and exit the audio dialogue, he remained motionless. His ensemble, at rest, watched him with the same relentless intensity as my Australian Cattle dog. The slightest gesture of his baton brought instruments to the ready. If the brass lead the phrase – you sensed trouble ahead. If the strings came to life you were then transported between scenes with a sense of calm and joy.  I wondered at first if somehow the sound effects were also being created on stage. That question remains unanswered.

The relationship between emotion and individual instrument voice has captivated me since I heard a reading of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev in grade school. Reineke continues that translation this weekend with the NSO and E.T.

So dress to the nines, head to The Concert Hall, and enjoy the popcorn.

Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, with one 20-minute intermission.

The NSO Pops: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Film with Live Music was performed on November 25, 2016, at 8 pm in the Concert hall at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – 2700 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. The concert will be repeated today November 26, 2016, at 2 PM, and at 8 PM. For tickets, cal the box office at (202) 467-4600, or Toll-Free: (800) 444-1324, or purchase them online.

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