Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton

Celebrate one of Hollywood’s most enduring partnerships for one night only during Adelaide Festival of Arts 2015.

Celebrate one of Hollywood’s most enduring partnerships for one night only during Adelaide Festival of Arts 2015. Inimitable film composer Danny Elfman tells The Adelaide Review that he sees his partnership with director Tim Burton as a “fertile playground”. They share one of Hollywood’s most enduring creative relationships. To celebrate 30 years of collaboration, Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton presents live scores from Burton’s back catalogue, brought to life on stage by nearly 90 orchestral musicians and the remarkable Elfman himself. After a packed world premiere last year at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton will make its Australian debut at Adelaide Festival of Arts in March 2015, and it’s here for one night only. Highly prolific, Elfman’s distinctive signature sound is one of the most recognisable in contemporary film history. His scores for Burton’s films are among his most celebrated. In 1985, Elfman, who had never before written a film score, was recruited by then unknown Burton to compose for his first feature Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Armed with a four-track recorder and a cassette tape, Elfman turned in a demo he thought would end up on the cutting room floor. “I thought they would probably throw the score out,” he says. “I didn’t have any high hopes at all. I figured I’d just do something fun.” Burton has since sought Elfman’s idiosyncratic talents 15 times, and counting. For more than 20 years Elfman was approached to stage these scores in a live format, but he never felt the time was right until now. The Festival’s unmissable concert takes in the scope of the Elfman/Burton partnership, from that initial collaboration through cult classics like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, to recent releases like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. A major highlight for film and music buffs alike will certainly be Elfman’s personal appearance on stage to perform the part of Jack Skellington for The Nightmare Before Christmas.   Australian indie vocalist Bertie Blackman will perform the part of Sally for The Nightmare Before Christmas, complemented by the Adelaide Festival Chorus featuring nine-year-old boy soprano Charlie Wells. Following the lead of Grammy- and Tony Award-winning conductor John Mauceri, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will traverse the length and breadth of Elfman’s wonderfully weird territory. Elfman notes that even as a child he was “always drawn to the fantastic… but I enjoy doing things that are fun and silly and frantic as well”, all of which will be given a work-out in this show. A selection of Burton’s original sketches, drawings and storyboards, plus clips from the feature films, will accompany the concert. Projected on an expansive screen behind the orchestra, visuals from Mars Attacks!, Frankenweenie and other fan favourites will speak to the power of musical and visual storytelling working in harmony. The evening will be a testament to two masters of their craft. It’s also a rare showcase for Elfman’s prowess as both a composer and performer. Writing music for film is a process that all too often makes Elfman feel “removed.” He finds the return to live performance both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. “People rehearsing and learning and getting better, the nervousness on opening night, these are great things to be around. Performers putting themselves out and on the line is very exciting… I would like [live theatre] to be much more a part of my future.” Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton Adelaide Entertainment Centre Saturday, March 14 8pm adelaidefestival.com.au  

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