Review: “Psycho” Live with Orchestra Chills at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Janet Leigh in "Psycho."

In the hallowed Walt Disney Concert Hall, a breathtaking fusion of cinema and symphony unfolded, redefining the way we experience Alfred Hitchcock’s timeless masterpiece, “Psycho.” On a recent Friday evening, I found myself immersed in a hauntingly beautiful journey as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, under the masterful baton of conductor, Constantine Kitsopoulos, breathed new life into Bernard Herrmann’s spine-tingling score, creating an unforgettable convergence of sight and sound.

Bernard Herrmann

As the lights dimmed, an anticipatory hush fell over the mesmerized audience. With a flourish, the orchestra, poised on the edge of their seats, unleashed the first notes of Herrmann’s score, sending tremors of anticipation coursing through the air. Simultaneously, the silver screen above the stage flickered to life, setting the stage for a night of spine-chilling revelations. What struck me most about watching “Psycho” with an orchestra was how much it heightened the emotions of the film. Herrmann’s score is already a masterful piece of music, but hearing it played live by a full orchestra gave it a new dimension, every pluck, strum, and sweep, weaving an intricate tapestry of suspense and unease that left the audience spellbound.

It was during the iconic shower scene that the full impact of this audiovisual symbiosis was felt. As the orchestra reverberated with Herrmann’s discordant violins and jarring stabs, the tension in the room reached a palpable crescendo. However, it was not solely the heart-pounding sequences that found their resonance elevated by the orchestra. Even the quieter moments, such as Norman Bates’ eerie conversations with Marion Crane in the parlor, were given new dimensions of depth and nuance. Herrmann’s intricate melodies intertwined seamlessly with the film, becoming an indispensable character in its own right. As the film inexorably hurtled toward its gripping climax, the orchestra, in perfect synchrony, reached a triumphant crescendo, their instruments triumphantly resounding through the hall. The impassioned audience, a congregation of cinephiles and music lovers alike, rose in unison, their applause echoing with appreciation and awe for not just Hitchcock and Herrmann, but also the brilliant Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Bravo!

— Rosane Grimberg

More information on the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra HERE