The Howard Assembly Room hosted a very special event on Thursday June 9, with a screening of Carl Theodore Dreyer’s 1928 film The Passion of Joan of Arc, accompanied live by a 27 piece ensemble from the Orchestra of Opera North. A classic of the silent era, the film, starring Renee Falconetti as Joan, is widely held as one of the greatest films ever made.
The screening in the Howard Assembly was accompanied by a score by Danish composer Ole Schmidt, conducted by Justin Doyle, and featuring solo soprano Claire Bradshaw and solo guitarist Craig Ogden.
Dougie Scarfe, Chorus and Orchestra Director of Opera North, says about Ole Schmidt:
"Schmidt was a wonderful conductor – he famously recorded the first complete cycle of Nielsen Symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra in the 60’s – but was also a distinguished jazz pianist, a great educator, a significant composer and hugely entertaining man to be around. He conducted his score for this film all over the world and when I originally talked about this film to our Projects Director Dominic Gray about five or six years ago, I had hoped that when we did it, Ole would conduct. Sadly the great man passed away recently. But we have been extremely fortunate, as a major Danish publishing house agreed to take on the task of creating a new set of parts for the score and our performance on the 9th of June was the premiere of this reprinted edition of Ole’s score. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have played for the great Ole Schmidt on a number of occasions whilst at the RNCM, including Nielsen’s 4th Symphony and Janáček’s From the House of the Dead. I also witnessed a live performance of this film."
The performance was a great success and here are some photos (by Jonny Walton/Kaptur) from the event: