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City Light Symphony Orchestra mit Singin' in the Rain im KKL

Big band sound and symphonic grandeur

The City Light Symphony Orchestra provides the appropriate soundtrack for the Hollywood classic “Singin’ in the Rain” live.

Arousing longings and creating dreams, but also generating tension and intensifying emotions – these are the tasks of the City Light Symphony Orchestra, which specialises in live performances of film music. Founded in 2018 under the label City Light Concerts in Lucerne, the project orchestra of around 60 musicians has already not only made the soundtrack to the James Bond films Casino Royale and Skyfall sparkle, but also the European premiere of Apollo 13. For the Hollywood classic Singin’ in the Rain starring Gene Kelly, the symphony orchestra was augmented with five saxophones and a rhythm section with guitar, electric bass and drums. The original version of the music by Nacio Herb Brown from 1952 when the film was shot, will be played in Klosters. “What is spectacular about this version of the film is the combination of jazzy big band sound on the one hand and symphonic grandeur on the other,” says managing director Pirmin Zängerle. And he is pleased that after the great success of Cinema Paradiso last year, the orchestra can once again perform a film classic at Klosters Music.

Conductor Anthony Gabriele is absolutely thrilled with the film music: “The melodies are catchy, the harmonies are classy and the dance passages are really brilliant and masterfully orchestrated. All in all, this film music is a wonderful and also very intelligent mix of different popular music styles.” The challenges for the orchestra lie in the many different styles that have to be made audible – musical, jazz, swing and elaborately orchestrated, symphonic ballet music. The most important thing for him as a conductor is absolute synchronicity between the music and the film, which is especially crucial in song and dance scenes. “That’s why I have to have completely internalised the tempi and rhythm of the film,” says Gabriele. The song Singin’ in the Rain originally came from the film The Hollywood Revue of 1929, and many well-known artists such as Dean Martin have sung the hit before. “The 1952 musical film then provided a new and even broader popularity through Gene Kelly’s inspired interpretation, in which he danced through puddles in the rain,” says Anthony Gabriele.

Before the Arena Klosters becomes a cinema hall on this evening, a considerable logistical effort is however necessary. The stage has to be completely dismantled in order to hang the big screen. The subsequent stage set-up is complex because the entire stage lighting also has to be adjusted due to the special setting. In the hall, the panes of the doors are further darkened. “The team from the Arena Klosters around Markus Hartmann is doing a huge job here, as with the entire festival,” says managing director Franziska von Arb, and is looking forward to the special cinema event, which also attracts spectators who are not otherwise regulars at the festival. She has only one worry before the film premiere: “Hopefully we and our team will get all the popcorn bags packed in time, including the raffle tickets for the concert break.”

HOLLYWOOD – SINGIN IN THE RAIN with the City Light Symphony Orchestra under Anthony Gabriele on 5 August 2022 at 7pm in the Arena Klosters Concert Hall (introduction to the life and work of Gene Kelly by his wife Patricia Ward Kelly at 6pm).