Blue Planet II – Live In Concert starts the UK and Eire tour on the 13th March, and will be heading to Birmingham on March 16th. 

Matthew, how did you come to be involved in Blue Planet II?

I was invited to conduct the original Planet Earth show around five years ago. That was a much bigger success than anybody had anticipated and it led to Blue Planet the following year. After the television release of the recent Planet Earth II and the subsequent Blue Planet II, it was obvious that the German promoter (FKP Scorpio GmbH) in conjunction with the BBC would want to take the live shows further.

 

What can an audience expect from the show and how does the experience differ from watching the series at home?

Well, it may be cosy watching Blue Planet II at home on your sofa, but seeing the footage in these huge arenas on an enormous LED screen is another experience. The  colour, those underwater worlds, accompanied by an 80 piece orchestra, a huge PA system, it really is a phenomenal and powerful experience.

 

Do you have any spiritual connection with the music in the live setting? 

The recent appearance of Sir David Attenborough at the world economic forum meeting in Davos has further heightened the awareness that Planet Earth and Blue Planet series have awakened. It’s all come together in a very powerful way as though this is a moment of destiny.

 

What do you think an audience will feel whilst sitting in an arena watching this show? 

The senses are awash with images that we are unfamiliar with. Did you know that ten people have walked on the moon but only three people have been down to the depths of our oceans. Blue Planet II takes us into an undiscovered, unknown world where we see shapes, colours and experiences that are absolutely captivating. We have extraordinary visuals, heightened with music that takes the viewer to another level. 

Anita Rani, our show host, speaks brilliantly, informatively and with humour between each scene and once the music starts you are left with your own internal dialogue, your own interpretation and emotions.

 

Is it meditative, would people find themselves somehow transported?

Aaah. It’s something I believe you would think about afterwards. It’s one of those performances and experiences that you find yourself assimilating long after.

 

Could you describe the make up of the orchestra, the different element and how you as conductor, bring all these strands together?

The orchestra is the City of Prague Philharmonic. There is of course a great tradition of classical music in Prague, a centre for Mozart, a rich musical area and you feel that the players are imbued with this culture which gives a sensitivity and wonderful commitment when they perform. We have 45 strings, full woodwinds, brass and a fabulous choir so we really have all the elements to create a beautiful sound. 

 

Are there moments of high drama in the show?

Of course there will be high drama but when you’re deep on the sea bed, it’s fairly tranquil. We do have some dark and eerie scenes with Bobbit worms and other more frantic chase scenes with Moray Eels and Octopus chasing crabs for dinner. I was born in Norfolk and was brought up eating Cromer crabs so can relate to that!

 

What big projects have you and this orchestra been involved with?

The City of Prague orchestra’s studio walls are covered with plaques and gold discs of successful recordings they’ve made. They are a very popular choice and we probably hear them a lot more than we realise. They’ve performed on many film and television soundtracks.

 

For people who might be more used to other types of artist concert and who don’t follow classical shows, what does a show like this offer that might hook them in?

I think the public are very attuned to orchestral music these days. It’s not just classical mainstream, there’s so much music orchestrated for computer games, movies and TV shows. Big orchestral shows in arenas are very popular across a wide range of audience.

 

You’ve worked on big shows such as the Abba show, you’ve been Shirley Bassey’s musical director and you’re presently working on the George Michael tour. How does Blue Planet compare to those song based shows? 

One brings the same commitment and passion to all these projects. I’m conducting the Abba concert in Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in May, which has a fantastic atmosphere. The George Michael tour is across the UK and I’m arranging the music, spending a lot of time listening to George. It’s a real joy to immerse oneself in multiple genres. The Blue Planet II score will sound so much bigger live and the music will become so much more majestic.

  

What’s it been like working with Anita Rani as the show host?

Haha. it’s been so difficult working with Anita [laughing aloud] – just kidding! She really has a fantastic sense of humour, a real natural sense of what to say; she’s a genuinely great choice as a narrator. She is able to inform and entertain at the same time and possesses the unique qualities a narrator needs. She’ll be throwing curved balls at me whilst on stage so I’ll really have to be on my toes; it will be great. 

Tickets are available from www.AXS.com, www.eventim.co.uk, www.seetickets.com and www.blueplanet2live.co.uk.

 

MARCH 2019 UK & EIRE TOUR DATES

13th – Bournemouth International Centre

14th – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

15th – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena

16th – Birmingham Resorts World Arena

17th – London O2 Arena (3pm Matinee)

17th – London O2 Arena

19th – Leeds First Direct Arena

20th – Newcastle Utilita Arena

21st – Glasgow The SSE Hydro

23rd – Belfast SSE Arena

24th – Dublin 3Arena

26th – Liverpool M&S Bank Arena

27th – Manchester Arena

28th – Sheffield FlyDSA Arena

 

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