A night of Disney
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A night of Disney

Audiences packed the TCC to hear beloved movie classics


In collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and B.Grimm, the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra once again packed the Thailand Cultural Centre recently for two completely sold-out performances full of magical atmosphere and emotive content.

Yet again, the enticing, surefire crowd-pleasing formula of the "Music Of Disney" necessitated the addition of an extra matinee show (such is the irresistible draw of these lush, theatrical light and sound extravaganzas to discerning audiences). Undeniably, if you offer the concert-going public what they truly enjoy, they will definitely return in their droves.

Maestro Vanich Potavanich is indeed a guaranteed class act when it comes to this particular species of musical entertainment, and from the unmistakable opening strains of Disney's trademark If You Wish Upon A Star, he duly directed a magnificent feast of choice numbers from Disney's immense back catalogue. From the invitingly titled opener Part Of Your World from The Little Mermaid, sung by Kimiko Mashima, one was immediately impressed not only by the stellar musical standard but also by the incredible word wizardry that also transmits the full power of these songs.

The lyrics "I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty / I've got whozits and whatzits galore / You want thingamabobs? I've got 20!" were delivered by Mashima with her customary charm and wit, the star's voice as ever sounding joyfully fresh and perfectly tuned. From the same animated musical of 1989, marking the start of the so-called "Disney Renaissance", the calypso & reggae infused Under The Sea was then sung by Kemawat Rungtham with an infectious charm: "Life under the Sea / Is better than anything they got up there / The seaweed is always greener / In somebody else's lake!" And so this show was well and truly set alive with a zestful gusto.

Vanich Potavanich as Elsa, during the encore.

Many contrasting moods were conveyed throughout the evening by a kaleidoscope of colourful patterns projected on the huge stage backdrop, and the wardrobe team had also clearly pulled out all sartorial stops to ensure a mesmerising visual experience for the audience. How Far I'll Go from Moana, performed by 16-year-old wunderkind Gracy Wizzle, was a case in point, with her eye-catching pink dress with inset mother-of-pearl featured for the whole concert. Set against the panoply of super colourful characters, the sharply dressed Vanich himself was suited in impeccably sartorial fashion -- elegant, sharp and stylish.

Radio and TV personality Pijika Jittaputta was next on stage, completing the vocal line-up with Reflection from the 1998 coming-of-age action film Mulan, dazzling the audience and with her extremely powerful voice for the quizzical lines: "Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? / Why is my reflection someone I don't know?" Mashima then returned for Loyal Brave True from the same engaging musical written by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel, delivering the lyrics with real passion: "Am I Loyal, Brave and True? / Losing is easy, winning takes bravery / I am a Tiger's fool."

Kimiko Mashima and Kemawat Rungtham perform A Whole New World.

However, nine out of the 15 show-stopping tunes in this programme were penned by the undisputed master of the modern Disney musical, Alan Menken, who developed a uniquely alluring blend of soaring strings, wistful woodwind, bold brass and powerful percussion in his arrangements. Beauty And The Beast is, of course, chief amongst his popular creations, with classic lyrics by Sir Tim Rice for How Does A Moment Last Forever and by Howard Ashman for the title song, sung by Mashima and Pijika/Kemawat, respectively.

Naturally, such events always demand a rousing encore, and the audience was audibly delighted to then hear Let It Go from Frozen, as the entire vocal ensemble gathered together on the TCC stage for an electrifying rendition of this modern classic, written by husband-wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Moreover, maestro Vanich himself reappeared dressed as Queen Elsa to the clear delight of all present, throwing ice-blue confetti over the vocalists as they reached that incredible climax.

Kimiko as Snow White sings Someday My Prince Will Come.

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