The gigantic Hong Kong Symphonic Winds Symphony Orchestra (HKSW) really deliver on the magic for Disney In Concert: Magical Music from the Movies. The cavernous, industrial acoustics of KITEC Star Hall shouldn’t make it the ideal venue for orchestral music, but with the entire orchestra miked up, the sound mixing between the orchestra, keyboards, bass, drums, and singers is flawless: amplified, crystal clear, and perfectly balanced, just like a Disney movie.
Conducted by Fung Ka Hing, one would never guess this is a predominantly amateur ensemble. From the opening fanfare of an eight-minute Disney medley, we were immediately transported to Disney heaven: unlike most orchestras, this is an ensemble that can truly deliver strings of pure Hollywood schmaltz, camp circus brass, and rocking pop drums. But, most importantly, they still bring in the light and shade needed.
In addition to enjoying the orchestra on its own, we are also treated to a sensational cast of singers that made the concert feel more like a Broadway show. Soprano Athene Mok is a star, with both the vulnerability and soaring upper register of a true Disney princess, while tenor Jordan Cheng startles with his powerhouse vocal and on-stage charisma.
It is a shame to see a few slipped lyrics, especially for such famous songs, and the orchestra are not always completely in time with one another. There are one or two ill-judged moments, like a “funky”, rock-beat “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book. But for the rest, well, it is pure Disney magic.
Playing 31 July – 1 August 2021 at the Kowloon Bay International Trade & Exhibition Centre.