News & Reviews
Dedicated To Diana
A unique and original tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales took place at the Turner Sims Auditorium in Southampton on Nov 11th. The film, which was made by New Forest artist Melanie Sanderson was synchronised to live music from US composer Craig Cervantes who travelled from the USA especially for the concert. For Craig & Melanie this was also to be their very first meeting as all of their prior work had been completed via the internet. The music was performed live by around 50 members of Southampton University Symphony Orchestra, augmented by a rhythm section and vocalists to perform the varied styles of music in the piece. The orchestra was ably conducted by Sergiu Rusu.
Starting with the dramatic chimes from Big Ben, the music moved steadily through Craig's symphony whilst the film showed portraits of a young Diana growing up. Happening as it did, on Remembrance Day, it was appropriate that a poppy field materialised during the early part of the film. Moving loosely through Diana's life, the portraits illustrated her engagement and wedding as well as her changing image after her marriage ended. A ballad using the line ‘In your eyes’ was teamed with close ups of Diana’s eyes in some of the most beautiful paintings from the collection.
Both the music and film contained much symbolism about Diana's life without spelling out the trouble she faced. Most of the visual metaphors were not lost on the audience, whose rapt attention absorbed many of the subtleties present in the piece. The audio visual concept of the concert undoubtedly attracted people who rarely attend orchestral concerts, proving that the unusual medium of film and live music could be very entertaining and satisfying in its format.
After moving effortlessly into a jazzy, easy listening passage followed by a beautifully executed piano solo, the climax of the performance came with images of Paris and some paintings of Diana, some superimposed, accompanied by the musical adagio and a suggestion of Diana passing through the Elysium Fields.
Once the sombre climax was over, the music and imagery reverted to an uplifting celebration of Diana's life with happier Diana portraits, and another vocal ballad, ‘Diana’s Theme’ with evocative lyrics. From then on the whole theme was upbeat, even tango dancing making an appearance towards the end before the credits finally rolled. As the portraits kept on coming, we were reminded just how many one hundred and one actually is, and how much work and time they must have entailed.
The audience expressed their enthusiasm at the end with sustained applause for the musicians as well as the Artist and her Composer colleague, who both took a bow with the young conductor. Craig, Melanie and Sergiu were clearly delighted with the audience reaction, and very happy that the whole performance was filmed for posterity.
The final portrait shown was entitled ‘Let’s Party’, and exiting the auditorium was musically accompanied by Billy Joel's ‘Uptown Girl’. This was the record to which Diana had famously performed with British dancer Wayne Sleep. The enthusiastic buzz in the foyer afterwards was the real evidence of the success of this unusual and tasteful production, a worthy tribute to ‘The People’s Princess’.
The full length film with original soundtrack is available in high definition DVD.
Kensington Palace – The White Garden 2018