In the second installment of Boise Philharmonic's outdoor concert series, Picnic at the Pops, conductor Robert Franz brought the music of witchcraft and wizardry to the Eagle River Pavilion. On Saturday, Aug. 25, Franz introduced scores from magical films like Fantasia and the Harry Potter franchise.
The crowd packed in picnic fare and folding chairs and spread out across the lawn as the sun began to set. The smoke-filled air cleared slightly as the sun and temperatures dropped, requiring a blanket around 8 p.m.
Franz began with Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, the strings-heavy piece made famous in the 1940 Disney animated film Fantasia. Next came Richard Wagner's Magic Fire Music from the opera Die Walkure.
"That opera lasts between 15 and 16 hours," said Franz. "Don't run for your cars quite yet—we're only going to do about five minutes of it."
Franz and the rest of the orchestra wore subdued attire, ditching tuxedos and evening gowns for summertime clothing. The Picnic at the Pops series encouraged patrons to do the same, and the mostly sandals-and-shorts-clad crowd certainly did.
Though the first half of the evening was well composed, a hush rippled through the audience only as Franz switched gears. The tinkling of a xylophone introduced the now world-famous John Williams composition "Hedwig's Theme," the defining song of the Harry Potter series.
Younger audience members sat in rapture as Franz conducted six songs from the Harry Potter movies. Just before launching into Nimbus 2000, Franz pulled out a special contribution to the evening—a large push broom.
"This is a Nimbus 200," he said, holding up the broom. He then switched to a regular kitchen broom, "A Nimbus 20." He inspired the most guffaws when he pulled out a small handheld brush: "A Nimbus 2."
Picnic at the Pops returns with a Labor Day performance, Patriotic Pops, on Sept. 1.