Most everyone has seen Disney’s 1940 classic Fantasia and its 1999 counterpart Fantasia 2000, but not everyone has had the pleasure of hearing the Santa Barbara Symphony bring the colorful animation to life at the Granada, as they did last Saturday. The multigenerational gathering demonstrated the important role Fantasia has played in introducing some of history’s most influential compositions to the public, made accessible through animation.
The concert featured some of the most powerful pieces of music from both Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 5, and, of course, the Paul Dukas classic The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
On a giant screen above the orchestra, the nostalgic animation unfolded brilliantly, accompanied by the symphony’s precise timing. Guest conductor David Lockington amusingly mimicked conductor Bugs Bunny’s Leopold Stokowski’s movements: There were laughs, gasps, and sentimental sighs traveling throughout the theater.
If one thing can be taken away from the performance, it’s that animation and music in combination produce a spellbinding experience, and the Santa Barbara Symphony delivered a magical show. Also, dancing mushrooms are still as adorable as they were in 1940.