Planet Earth Live
Millennium Park; Wed 21
When it comes to nature documentaries, BBC’s Planet Earth series is pretty unfuckwithable. From HD cameras whooshing over a swarm of galloping gazelles to commentary by the godfather of natural-history narration, David Attenborough (or, Discovery viewers, Sigourney Weaver), the program offers an eye-popping portrait of Peruvian guanacos, Tibetan foxes, trippy anemone and other curiosities.
We all know the photography is spectacular, but the essential soundtrack by distinguished British film composer George Fenton goes overlooked. His sensitive orchestration mimics the wildlife behavior onscreen, often with a dab of humor. The Londoner’s first Chicago performance sees him steering the Grant Park Orchestra through 90 minutes of Planet Earth. Behind, highlights will fill a giant screen at Pritzker Pavilion.
“It’s quite different for the audience to see images from the show on such a huge scale,” Fenton told us from a hotel room in Dallas, as the 60-year-old geared up for the world premiere with the Dallas Symphony. “The communal aspect of hearing it with other people really intensifies the experience.”
Fenton spent three weeks editing animal stories with producers to find the best pieces—including the famous scene of snow leopards hunting in the remote mountains of Pakistan, which took more than three years to capture on film. “It’s a little different from the series, but I hope it’s got the same spirit,” Fenton says. Life, death, awe, war—it’s really not much different than an opera.