Carl DavisLeft - Conductor Carl Davis

It’s time to acknowledge that Hamer Hall is a spectacular venue for listening to music. This might not come as surprise to most concertgoers, but it has to be said that as a venue, the acoustics and ambiance that the Hall creates is without peer in Melbourne and possibly across Australia. And what was it that brought me to this revelation? The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) evening entitled Symphonic James Bond.

Presented as a part of the MSO Pops season, Symphonic James Bond was an evening of music drawn from the past 40 odd years of James Bond films. It’s easy to dismiss the James Bond films as a pop-cultural phenomena, but when seeing all of the cumulative music that has been created over the years, the evidence begins to stack up to the contrary. There is a great deal of detail and drama that exists within the themes and lyrics of the James Bond Music and the MSO brought this out beautifully.

The enigmatic Carl Davis was wonderfully eccentric as both conductor and host and brought his audience into the world of Bond with humour and verve. The vocalist Mary Carewe, charged with bringing to life great numbers such as Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, had a great vocal range necessary to cover the extremes from the likes of Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney to later singers such as Tina Turner and Garbage. Her vocal renderings added another layer of excitement to the evening’s affairs.

There is one complaint, and it’s a minor one, and that’s though it was thorough to present the James Bond music in chronological order, the evening would have held more impact if the music and songs were arranged to highlight their dramatic intensity. This would have meant that some of the earlier film music, which is more iconic, could have taken its rightful place as a grand finale show stopper. This is a minor quibble though, because fans of the James Bond and his music will have fun regardless.  

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
The Symphonic James Bond

Venue: the Arts Centre, Hamer Hall
Dates/Times: Saturday 29 March at 7pm; Sunday 30 March at 2pm
Tickets: $96 - $40
Bookings: or Ticketmaster on 1300 136 166

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