The Snowman and Peter and the Wolf: Christmas classics at the Barbican
It’s been 30 years since Raymond Briggs’ Christmas classic The Snowman was first released as an animated film, and 30 years since the Barbican first opened its doors.
What better way to celebrate this joint anniversary than with an exciting double bill of musical storytelling – a showing of The Snowman accompanied by the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, followed by a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, conducted by Neil Thomson and narrated by Tamsin Grieg (Green Wing, Black Books)?
It’s a rare opportunity to explore how music can add depth to a visual, or conjure one up from scratch in the mind of the listener. Grieg’s lively, witty narration is brilliant for engaging with the audience and she keeps younger viewers enthralled by encouraging them to watch closely for the hidden details in The Snowman, or listen carefully to hear the different animals in Peter and the Wolf.
For the unfamiliar, The Snowman tells the enchanting story of a boy whose snowman comes to life for an evening, causing mischief around his home before taking him on a journey to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. With its live accompaniment the film really captures the magic of the festive season, delighting children and grown-ups alike. There may well be a few tears during chorister Luke McWatters beautiful solo rendition of Walking in the Air.
In Peter and the Wolf, a picture is painted through music. Written in 1936 as a symphony for children, the colourful characters (grumpy Grandpa, the cunning Cat and brave Peter) provide young listeners with a humorous and exciting introduction to the world of classical music.
The members of the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera create beautiful music with a sense of fun; they are truly relishing being there and performing just as much as the audience enjoy watching. The only negative, as Grieg pointed out at the end, is that now watching it at home, on DVD, will never be the same again!
The Snowman and Peter and the Wolf are at the Barbican Hall, at 2pm, on 22nd and 23rd December 2012. For further information or to book visit the Barbican website here.