In Review

'Get Out' with San Francisco Symphony

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars - 'Outstanding - Starkie!'
San Francisco Symphony
Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco
Review by Jeanne Powell

During its 2019-2020 season, the SF Symphony continues with its popular Film Series, providing a remarkable way to enjoy great American cinema. Each film is stripped of its soundtrack, and the musical score then is recreated and performed live by the SF Symphony.

Scheduled for this season are Get Out directed by Jordan Peele;  Coco directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina; Ghostbusters directed by Ivan Reitman; It’s A Wonderful Life directed by Frank Capra; Love Actually directed by Richard Curtis; and Apollo 13 directed by Ron Howard.

The audience for Get Out was one of the most eclectic we have seen at Davies Symphony  Hall – multiple age groups attired in every kind of fashion from formal wear to … OMG! Symphony conductor for the evening was Michael Abels, who wrote the original score for the film. Accompanying the symphony were the DC6 Singers, who performed in the film Get Out.

We enjoyed Michael Abels’ brief remarks to audience members just before the performance began:  since you all are accustomed to seeing this film in movie theaters, please feel free to react just the way you would in that kind of venue. And react they did to Jordan Peele’s award-winning script, as they watched a young man of color go through the stuff of nightmares as he visits with the suburban family of his wealthy white girlfriend. This film is definitely not Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

Jordan Peele’s script is engrossing as we observe him bringing to life the latent fears of many who are viewed as outsiders in their own country, as described or alluded to in the writings of Richard Wright and James Baldwin, for example. The introduction of humor in moments when there doesn’t seem to be any is part of the brilliance of this script.

Realizing how skillfully the SF Symphony recreates the musical score for Get Out, so much so that you forget for a moment that the performance is live, is another reason to support this most capable orchestra as they celebrate: Michael Tilson Thomas’ 25 years of conducting; the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven; three amazing female artists in residence; and multiple world premieres. In addition to family-friendly concerts throughout the season, there will be holiday offerings to suit multiple inclinations – Handel’s Messiah, Peter and the Wolf, a Merry-Achi Christmas, holiday brass, a Festival of Carols and a Charlie Brown Christmas.

Not to be missed.

Jeanne is a published poet and essayist. She holds degrees from Wayne State University and the University of San Francisco. Jeanne has taught in the CS, UB and OLLI programs at universities in the City. Her books in print include MY OWN SILENCE and WORD DANCING from Taurean Horn Press.