As the opening night performance of the Frost School of Music’s Festival Miami on Jan. 19, the University of Miami’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra performed music inspired by the Netflix series “House of Cards.”
“We wanted to bring the music to a concert hall not simply as a replica, but rather as a poetic form,” said Jeff Beal, the composer who scored the soundtrack for “House of Cards,” at the concert.
The performance, which lasted about 90 minutes, featured Beal as the conductor and trumpet soloist, his wife, Joan Beal, as an operatic soprano and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra.
“House of Cards in Concert” kicked off the start of the 33rd-annual Festival Miami, hailed as Miami’s premier live music festival. Festival Miami is presented by the Frost School of Music and puts on about 30 shows per year.
The show started with the ominous “House of Cards” theme song, a part of the performance that was titled “Forward March.” The concert was broken down into 10 chapters, each focusing on a specific theme or character in the show. Behind the symphony, a projector displayed clips from the show that were revealing but did not have any spoilers.
“Music helps us … uncover the emotional truths of our characters in ways that can amplify or add more facets,” said Beau Willimon, creator of House of Cards, in an interview with Variety Media. This quote was featured in the event program, and Beal’s symphony ensemble conveyed this notion perfectly.
The music conveyed a dramatic and thrilling mood, similar to the series itself. As the audience listened, there was no wonder why the music was Emmy Award-winning and the show has been such a success. Despite the intricate story “House of Cards” tells, the show’s music tells a story in itself.
The performance felt as though there was a power struggle, not between musicians but between sounds. The violin, trumpet and cello solos complemented the orchestra without becoming overwhelming. The orchestration conveyed the dramatic feel of “House of Cards” and its political plot. The performance was timely given its taking place just one day before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Despite the tense timing and politically-charged music, the atmosphere inside the Adrienne Arsht Center was at ease.
House of Cards in Concert’s highlight was the second-to-last piece of music, “Puppet Master.” This piece had an aura of omniscient knowledge on the musician’s part. It was as if the symphony took control of the audience, captivating them in the way that a puppet master would.
In the show, Kevin Spacey, who plays one of the protagonists, said “Politics is not just a theater. It’s show business, so let’s put on the best show in town.” It could easily be said that the musicians followed suit, putting on a fantastic performance.
The only critique of House of Cards in Concert could be that the show felt too drawn out.
“The show was done in a professional setting with professional music, like a hired symphony. These are students at Frost. It shows their development and talent. It’s not just in the classroom, it’s at the Arsht in action,” said Jonathan Rose, a freshman media writing and production major.
The concert left fans ready for season five of “House of Cards,” coming May 30.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Festival Miami runs through Feb. 11. To see the event schedule and purchase tickets to upcoming Festival Miami events, visit the Festival Miami website.